Aber Hall will be partially closed for the fall semester, open only for students who have been exposed to or have contracted the novel coronavirus, according to Executive Director of Housing and Community Standards Sandra Curtis. Aber Hall was previously under discussion during spring semester 2020 to be converted into an administrative space, and thus was not a living option for incoming freshmen this year. This made Aber Hall the best option for a quarantine space since the administration won’t have to reassign students to other living options, according to Curtis. (HANNA CAMPBELL)


Vice President of Enrollment and Communications Cathy Cole is leaving the University of Montana after just two years to take a position at Simpson College in Iowa. According to reporting done by the Missoulan, Cole stated that her new position as Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Communications at Simpson College is better for her personal and professional life. UM’s Vice Provost Sarah Swager and Director of Communications Paula Short will temporarily take over Cole’s position while a search for a new VP of Enrollment is conducted. This comes shortly after former Provost Jon Harbor resigned, as of July 2020, to return to Purdue Global University as its provost. Reed Humphrey is the acting provost until the search for a permanent replacement for Harbor can be found. (HC) 


The University of Montana hired its first director of the SEA Change Initiative program, which will be implemented during the autumn semester for 2020. SEA Initiative Director Twila Old Coyote is a UM Alumni and has spent several years advocating for access to higher education, according to her story located on the UM website. The SEA Change Initiative is designed to promote equity on campus by teaching its program participants skills needed to navigate gender biases, according to the website. (HC)


The University of Montana announced Aug. 4 that the 2021 commencement is still set to happen on May 8, 2021. While the date is set for the end of the next academic year, the fall 2020 commencement, for students graduating this semester, is postponed. Interim Executive Vice President and Provost Reed Humprey said in an email the decision was based on limiting large in person events, and because the semester is ending early in November, instead of December as usual. The email also said the students graduating this fall, and the graduating class of 2020, are welcome to join the class of 2021 for their commencement. (GRIFFEN SMITH)


Missoula County reported 85 active COVID-19 cases on Monday, Aug. 17, bringing the total active cases in Montana to 1,548 people. Over 5,792 Montana cases have been reported since the start of the pandemic, with 4,162 people considered recovered. Hospitalization rates continue to rise, with over 90 in the state. In Missoula County, a second person died from COVID-19 on Aug 14, and Montana has had a total of 82 deaths. (GS)

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