Dear Bobcat parent and family members,

What a great start to September! We had an incredible first week of school, filled with fun campus events and activities, including the Jamestown Revival concert last Saturday. It's so nice to have students back on campus and back in classrooms. I want to give a major shout-out to the student leaders and staff members in the Office of Student Engagement for an outstanding week of programs and activities.

I wanted to let you know about some approaching deadlines for your student if they intend to add or drop a course. The deadline for students to self-add a course online has already passed (Aug. 31). Students may still add a class until Sept. 8 but only with the approval of the instructor.

Students can self-drop a course online through Sept. 8. After Sept. 8, students have until Sept. 15 to drop a course without receiving a "W" (withdrawal) grade. Your student may still withdraw from a course until Nov. 17, but they will receive a "W" grade after Sept. 15. All students dropping a course after Nov. 17 must have extraordinary reasons for dropping and will need the approval of the instructor, their advisor, and the assistant dean of their college.

After the self-add and self-drop deadlines have passed, students must meet with the instructor to add a course and with an advisor to drop a course. Students can find step-by-step instructions here.

If your student has mentioned adding or dropping a course, please remind them to review the deadlines. We post these dates on the Office of the Registrar website, the online registration handbook, and our social media accounts. Yet many students will still not fully comprehend these deadlines. (Truth be told, this is complicated stuff.)

Students who need advice about adding or dropping courses should talk with their academic advisor. Students always have the option to visit the Academic Advising Center. Emily Edwards and her attentive staff of academic advisors are available to assist students throughout the work week on a drop-in basis.

Switching subjects, the long Labor Day weekend is coming up in a few days, and many students will venture into the community for social gatherings. The health and well-being of students both on- and off-campus is always my top priority. As is true for many aspects of our lives, the things we learned in kindergarten still apply, and the buddy system is one of those. If you talk or text with your student, please remind them to take the following safety precautions.

  • Download Safe Cats, our safety app that includes emergency procedures and a means of contacting University Police. It also features Friend Walk, which lets users send their location in real-time to a friend who can make sure they arrive at their destination safely. When a friend isn't available, users can also employ the app's Safety Escort feature to call UPD and request a ride on campus. Safe Cats is available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
  • Always stay in groups of two to three known and trusted friends, especially in the evenings or while hiking in the backcountry. 

Many students will take advantage of the long weekend for an outdoor adventure. If heading into the backcountry, there may be little or no cell service. Students should designate a "safety contact" in town who knows their exact trip itinerary and when they're expected back in town. I always remind students to carry bear spray and learn how to use it. The ASMSU Outdoor Recreation Program offers free bear safety clinics throughout September that cover the basics of bear behavior, what you need to do to respect this powerful animal, and how to stay safe in bear country.

One last note on safety: I want to help clarify the changes that MSU put in place last week regarding our COVID-19 protocols. Last week there was a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases needing inpatient services at our local hospital. As a result, and with the safety of all members of our academic community and surrounding Bozeman area in mind, MSU is now requiring face masks while indoors within instructional spaces, such as classroom, studios, and labs. I sent students an email informing them that this requirement will be enforced through the university's Code of Student Conduct. There has been strong support from the local medical community in Gallatin County for the university's decision to enact this requirement, and already we are seeing positive results as students across campus mask up to help protect their fellow Bobcats.

Thanks to all of you who have been responding with questions, suggestions, and notes of appreciation. We are continually striving to improve and provide students with the very best college experience, and your feedback is invaluable in this effort. Now that we are settled into the semester, you'll note that the frequency of my emails will drop off a little.

Warm regards,

Matthew R. Caires
Dean of Students

Bobcat Parent and Family Program, Montana State University
174 Strand Union Building | P.O. Box 174220 | Bozeman, MT 59717 | [email protected] | 406-994-7359 
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