In an echo of the confrontations going on between the political left and right over free speech at the University of California at Berkeley, protesters at Canada Community College in Woodside on April 25 shouted down a conservative speaker.
A snippet from a video shows protesters at the rear of a theater among 200 or so attendees, holding up signs and yelling slogans and chants, drowning out the the words of the speaker, Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Event organizer and Canada student Tommy Beal said in an email that 200 people attended the speech.
The New York Times refers to Mr. Lapin as a socially conservative radio host based in Seattle with "strong ties to the Christian right."
He is the author several books, including "Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money," published in 2002, and "Business Secrets from the Bible: Spiritual Success Strategies for Financial Abundance," published in 2014.
The protesters' signs included some profanity and critiqued capitalism, white supremacy, opposition to gay rights and included a handout labeling Mr. Lapin "a misogynist, an Islamophobe, a homophobe, and a capitalist!" as seen in photos provided to the Almanac by Mr. Beal.
The event was sponsored by the on-campus group Young Americans for Freedom, a college spokesperson said. The Young America's Foundation arranged for Mr. Lapin's visit, Mr. Beal said in an emailed statement.
"Education is a right, not just for the rich and white," went one chant, according to Mr. Beal. As the protest continued, he said, "we started a few good anti-chants, such as this: the protestors would say: 'Fascists Racists Go away' (then the audience would say) 'we don’t care what you have to say!' It was the best we could do to make light of this tragic situation."
After about 20 minutes, a smaller group of attendees reconvened in another venue on campus, where the rabbi spoke for about 30 minutes, Mr. Beal said. "It felt like we were all a big happy family who overcame a terrible struggle," he said.
The student code of conduct in the college catalog prohibits disruptive and disorderly behavior and verbal intimidation and harassment, including profanity, noting that disciplinary action may follow.
According to Mr. Beal, the campus head of security, when asked about the possibility of silencing the protesters, replied that they were exercising their right to free speech.
Asked to comment on the protest, college spokeswoman Megan Rodriguez Antone said the college "is gathering information about particular concerns of some attendees and will address any conduct issues directly with students who were involved in attempting to pre-empt the guest speaker."
"The College serves as a supportive learning community where students, faculty and staff are encouraged to share and discuss diverging views in an environment of mutual respect," a college statement said. "The exchange of these diverging views and perspectives contribute greatly to the development of essential knowledge and skills, and is the sign of an educated society."