ROCK HILL, S.C. -- An art group has claimed responsibility after police began investigating a controversial display found near Tillman Hall on Winthrop University Sunday.

According to the university, the display had a sign with the words, "Tillman's Legacy," as well as a number of abstract black spray-painted figures hanging from branches of a nearby tree.

Police say they counted 18 separate stockings filled with dirt and mulch hanging from the tree and were soaked from morning rain. Officials are guessing the stockings were placed in the tree the night before or early in the morning.

The reporting officers photographed the display and then immediately took it down.

Nearby students who were taking graduation photos on the morning of the discovery told police they didn't see anyone.

Winthrop University President Dan F. Mahony released a statement Monday saying, "while we do not know the intent of this display, these images are clearly hurtful and threatening and are contrary to the values of Winthrop University."

The 'Association of Artists for Change' evidently claimed responsibility for the display Monday morning by tweeting out a statement.

"Tillman's Legacy, is a work which aims to disrupt the aesthetic veil the building has, eliminating the ability to forget the eighteen men who were lynched during Benjamin Tillman's years in office," the association said.

They said the work came after the election as "the climate made the fear of deportation, detainment and a repeat of history apparent."

Mahony responded to the art group's claim saying the incident will be fully investigated and those responsible will be held accountable.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Winthrop University Campus Police.