Since the beginning of the fall semester, NMU has lost two innovative members of our campus community. Though this doesn’t appear to be a trend, the ramifications of these departures could alter the future of NMU.
Darnell Bradley, director of the Multicultural Education and Resource Center (MERC) who recently left NMU, was an integral part of the campus-wide push for diversity. Bradley was responsible for bringing the Uniting Neighbors in the Experience of Diversity (UNITED) conference to Northern. This conference brought educators from across the Midwest to Northern’s doorstep and broadened NMU’s ideas concerning diversity.
Bradley, along with President Wong, spearheaded bringing this subject to the forefront of the campus agenda. The issue of diversity is a big one. During the 2007 winter semester, the NMU student body was only seven percent non-white, according to the NMU Office of Institutional Research. Though diversity means more than just difference in ethnic background, NMU still has a long way to go until it can advertise having a “diverse campus.”
Andre Mallie, director of Dining Services, departed NMU with unfinished business on the table as well. After wholesale pushes to change the menus and atmosphere of on-campus dining, Mallie’s changes were well-received. The introduction of Fieras, Temaki Tea and a revamped Marketplace and Wildcat Den were all aspects of Mallie’s brief legacy. Mallie not only made cosmetic changes, he also made nutritional changes, providing healthier meals along with more options for the NMU student body and faculty.
The loss of these two NMU staffers puts into question the future of their initiatives. The program that Mallie started will continue, according to Dining Services, but whether his recent ventures will be backed by strong enough leadership is questionable.
We need to find the right people for these jobs and keep those individuals on campus. During this time of budget cuts, NMU has a more difficult time enticing qualified applicants. With that said, NMU was able to lure individuals of Bradley and Mallie’s caliber. Adequately filling these positions is not beyond the university’s capabilities.
Although it’s unrealistic to keep a high-ranking official as long as NMU kept former Provost Fred Joyal, (who first joined NMU’s faculty in 1976) a tenure of more than a few years is essential for moving NMU’s programs in the right direction toward diversity, change and acceptance.