The president of the Philadelphia NAACP on Sunday harshly criticized national Republicans - including President-elect Donald Trump - for creating "an atmosphere of fear, bigotry, and racial intolerance" that he said has led to racially charged incidents across the region in recent days, affecting students at the University of Pennsylvania, Villanova University, and elsewhere.
Rodney Muhammad, at a news conference at his East Oak Lane home, condemned Trump and said his campaign rhetoric "did everything to practically set off a racial and class war." Without naming specific lawmakers, Muhammad also said the GOP has for years "nourished every prejudice and unfounded fear, setting a tone throughout the country."
Muhammad, a minister who is up for reelection to his post atop the local NAACP chapter, called for spiritual healing to move forward.
Representatives of the Trump campaign could not be reached for comment Sunday, but Megan Sweeney, spokeswoman for the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, said that it condemned the recent incidents and that "racist behavior and intimidation have no place in American society."
Muhammad's remarks came two days after black students at the University of Pennsylvania were targeted with racist text messages - some of which mentioned Trump - through a cellphone app, and three days after a black student at Villanova said she was assaulted, allegedly by white males yelling "Trump, Trump, Trump!"
There also have been several reports of racist and politically charged vandalism in South Philadelphia since the election on Nov. 8, including an incident in which a Drexel professor, Adrienne Juarascio, discovered a lewd message etched into her car door.
Juarascio said Sunday that she found this message: "It's our p---- now, bitch," according to a picture she posted on Facebook and later shared with the Inquirer and Daily News.
Juarascio, 28, said she had a Hillary Clinton political sign in the window of her South Philadelphia home but not on her Toyota Camry, which had been parked near 18th and Reed Streets when she discovered the vandalism around 5 p.m. Friday.
Juarascio did not know whether her car had been targeted or if the act was random, but it left her feeling uneasy nonetheless.
"It just seems there's a lot going on, and I'm not sure if and when it's going to feel normal again," she said.
Meanwhile, investigations into the incidents at Penn and Villanova were ongoing Sunday.
Penn president Amy Gutmann said in an email Sunday to the campus community that three people had been linked to racist text messages targeting black students at the school, and that all of them live in Oklahoma. None of the three were Penn students, Gutmann said, though she did not provide additional information about the suspects or potential charges.
A student at the University of Oklahoma was suspended Friday night after Penn officials said the messages - delivered Friday morning to more than 100 black male freshmen on the cellphone app GroupMe under the chat name "N- Lynching" - had originated in that state.
One of the early messages in the GroupMe chat, from someone posting under the name GORT, said "message Heil Trump."
An FBI spokeswoman said Sunday that the agency was continuing to assist Penn police in its investigation but did not elaborate.
A student at Oklahoma State University, Davis Frohrip, said in an email Sunday that he had been unwittingly added to the group Friday morning, but left after he noticed the use of racial slurs. He said he had not been contacted by investigators and that he did not know how or why he was included in the chat.
"It was truly disgusting, and I hate that people felt so unsafe and disrespected," Frohrip said.
Gutmann said Sunday that deans at the school had been briefed on the issue so that faculty could properly respond to students affected by the messages.
"We are deeply saddened that Penn students were the victims of this hate, to which absolutely nobody should be subjected," Gutmann said.
At Villanova, Radnor police and the school's department of public safety continued to investigate the alleged attack Thursday night of a female black student in a tunnel linking the campus to the SEPTA Villanova train station.
The woman, who was not identified, said her head and face hit the concrete in the tunnel around 9 p.m. as three male students wearing blazers passed by her on their way to West Campus, apparently headed to an off-campus formal. A friend said the woman suffered nausea, vomiting, and dizziness afterward, and that she was "very, very afraid" and at one point reluctant to report the attack to campus safety officials.
The school said in a statement that the alleged conduct was "deplorable" and pledged to hold the perpetrators accountable.