GLASSBORO — Two people were arrested during a protest on Thursday that began with five members of a Philadelphia church showing up on the Rowan University campus carrying anti-gay and anti-women signs.

A second protest made up of students soon formed on the campus quad, according to aerial footage by Fox Philadelphia. The station estimated the crowd to be around 500 people.

University spokesman Joe Cardona called the church protesters "professional protesters" that held signs with the "right words" to draw the attention of students.

Glassboro Police issued an alert about "police activity" on campus on Thursday afternoon, but did not disclose details.

Fox Philadelphia reported the protesters were from the Key of David Christian Center, which describes itself on its website as a "non-denominational Christian church" that believes marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman. It holds services at an undisclosed location "north of Philadelphia."

6 ABC Action News reported two students were arrested for throwing soda at the church protest.

Rowan President Ali Houshmand released a letter titled "responding to hate" on Thursday night that praised students and staff for responding to protesters he said targeted the campus.

"While the protest disrupted some routine campus activities, I am proud that our campus community responded in a largely positive manner and reflected the values of diversity and inclusion that are at the core of our university," Houshmand wrote.

He also said that while the school as a public institution is "obligated" to allow freedom of expression, it does not have to condone or endorse hate speech.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.

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