Protesters greet Secretary DeVos in Grand Rapids

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NBC) True to their word, people gathered in Grand Rapids in protest of Wednesday's visit by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, a West Michigan native.

About two dozen demonstrators protested a few blocks away from a ceremony to mark the official opening of Michigan State University's Grand Rapids Research Center. Critics say Secretary DeVos is not qualified for her current position. They accuse her of being hostile towards public education.

A similarly-sized group also gathered in support of Secretary DeVos, who spoke about the value of the new facility, after a ribbon cutting ceremony. She said, "It's about the process of testing ideas and questions and preparing students to tackle real world challenges. I eagerly anticipate the many contributions made by those who will populate this center."

The medical research center will work on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases along with autism, pediatric cancers and women's health. The $88 million facility is expected to employ 44 research teams.