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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Amelia KashianFebruary 22, 2024

Bradley leaves MERC office

Darnell Bradley, the man who some students say took Diversity Student Services to a whole different level, has left Northern.

When Bradley first arrived at NMU, the office was known as Diversity Student Services. In his short two years at NMU, he changed the name to the Multi Educational Resource Center (MERC), and helped promote awareness of diversity on campus through several different grant programs.

Chantia Vann, senior early childhood development major, and MERC student worker, said she was surprised when Bradley announced his intention to leave. His last official day was Aug. 17.

“He took [MERC] to a higher level,” she said. “He touched on every aspect of the office. He embraced the student body. He was an all-around good person.”

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Dean of Students Christine Greer said that though Bradley has left, MERC will still continue on in the path set by Bradley.

“Every campus needs to be multicultural,” she said. “Northern has some barriers to that because we don’t have many minority students on our campus. The office is important in serving the students, and in teaching multicultural education.”

Though MERC is often thought of as only in place for minority students, Brozzo disagrees.

“A lot of people have the perception that (MERC) is only for students of color on campus, but that’s not true, because we are here for all students,” she said.

As MERC’s director, Bradley primarily ran the Peer Advising Counseling Education (PACE) program, which provides incoming freshmen with a junior or senior as a mentor to help them transition from high school to college.

However, MERC will be hiring a part-time graduate assistant by the end of the week to oversee the PACE program, as well as other office duties, Brozzo said.

While a graduate student will be hired soon, the search for a new full-time director may not be in MERC’s future.

Administrators will be seeking input through surveys and focus groups to determine what services are needed to help students, faculty and staff.

The results of the survey are expected to be evaluated by the end of the Fall semester, or the beginning of the Winter semester.

The results will also reflect if a new full-time director is needed.

However, if a search is conducted, it will be national.

And though MERC will definitely remain without a director for at least one semester, the changes Bradley brought about will remain in place.

“He added a lot of knowledge and innovative ideas to us, but that’s not to say that [MERC] won’t continue providing the services that we did before,” Brozzo said. “We may change things up a little, we may scale things down a little, but the programs will still be there.”

As MERC’s director, Bradley primarily ran the Peer Advising Counseling Education (PACE) program, which provides incoming freshmen with a junior or senior as a mentor to help them transition from high school to college.

However, MERC will be hiring a part-time graduate assistant by the end of the week to oversee the PACE program, as well as other office duties, Brozzo said.

Even though a graduate student will be hired soon, the search for a new full-time director may not be in MERC’s future.

Administrators will be seeking input through surveys and focus groups to determine what services are needed to help students, faculty and staff, said Bill Bernard, associate provost for student services and enrollment.

The results of the survey are expected to be evaluated by the end of the fall semester, or the beginning of the winter semester.

The results will also reflect if a new full-time director is needed.

However, if a search for a new MERC director is conducted, it will be done on a national level, Bernard said.

And though MERC will definitely remain without a director for at least one semester, the changes Bradley brought about will remain in place.

“He added a lot of knowledge and innovative ideas to (MERC), but that’s not to say that we won’t continue providing the same services that we did before (Bradley left),” Brozzo said. “We may change things up a little, we may scale things down a little, but the programs will still be there.”

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