PHILADELPHIA -- A student at the University of Oklahoma has been temporarily suspended and police are investigating a threat against a Muslim student near the University of Michigan amid racially charged outbursts at schools and universities across the country following Donald Trump’s presidential election.
The Associated Press and other local media outlets identified several reports of racist incidents at schools since Tuesday, including a group chat that the Oklahoma student got involved with aimed at black freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania, Trump’s alma mater.
The chat contained “violent, racist and thoroughly disgusting images and messages,” and Penn is “appalled” its students were added to the GroupMe account,” UPenn President Amy Gutmann said. Gutmann said UPenn police have been working with the FBI. She earlier said officials had increased campus safety and were “reaching out to support the affected students.”
One of the students on the group text told CBS Philadelphia that “it’s sad that in this day that we’re still dealing with racism in this type of way, and out of all places I didn’t think my school would be the school to have to go through it.”
Asking not to be identified, the student said she does feel it’s related to the recent presidential election:
“I don’t think it’s like a coincidence that it just so happened now,” she said.
She said she normally feels pretty safe on campus, but plans to be cautious for a while.
“I think it’s better to walk in groups. I mean on a college campus in general, but especially now,” she said.
University of Oklahoma President David Boren in a statement said the student has been temporarily suspended as the school investigates further.
“It would appear this matter did not originate at the University of Oklahoma, but started elsewhere,” Boren said in a statement.
A number of students held signs showing support around campus, and tried to let affected students know they stood with them in unity, CBS affiliate KWTV reports.
In Ann Arbor, Michigan, police are looking into a report of a man who threatened to set a Muslim student on fire with a lighter if she didn’t remove her hijab on Friday. The incident apparently happened near the University of Michigan campus, according to Ann Arbor police Sgt. Patrick Maguire. He added that the department is “investigating it actively ... and soliciting information from anyone who may have witnessed anything.”
A crime alert issued by the university said the woman took off her hijab and left the area. Witnesses told police the man was white with an “unkempt appearance” and “intoxicated with slurred speech.”
Reports of threats, intimidation and racially charged violence have spiked since Tuesday’s presidential election, CBS Detroit reports.
A racial backlash also unfolded after the election of Barack Obama, America’s first black president, in 2008. At the time, police documented alleged crimes, from vandalism and vague threats to at least one physical attack. Insults and taunts were delivered by adults, college students and even children.
Racially charged incidents have also been reported at middle and high schools across the country, including swastikas being found at a middle school in Maryland.