Head of UBC School of Public Health admits he travelled to Hawaii last month

Jan 8 2021, 12:38 am

A director at the University of British Columbia (UBC) has issued a public apology for travelling over the holiday break in December.

Dr. Peter Berman is the director and a professor at the School of Publication and Public Health. He travelled to Hawaii over the holiday and recently addressed his actions in a letter to the school community.

“In light of recent events and news stories this past week, I feel that I need to share with you that I travelled over the holiday break,” he explains in an open letter.

“I recognize now that I should not have travelled, and that many of you have made sacrifices over these past several weeks that I too should have made. I truly regret this decision.”

Berman adds that he wants to reaffirm his “sincere support for the efforts” of public health authorities as well as his colleagues against the ongoing pandemic. He adds that he continues to comply “with all requirements for pandemic control.”

UBC says they’re “aware that some university administrators, students, faculty and staff may have chosen to travel over the holiday break.”

“Individuals in our community are free to make personal decisions around how they choose to spend their personal time,” Matthew Ramsey, UBC Media Relations spokesperson, tells Daily Hive. “The university has no jurisdiction over policing those private decisions but expects everyone in its community to follow health guidelines.”

Berman’s admission was followed by a statement from UBC President Santa Ono on Thursday, who said he travelled to the US in December after his mother was hospitalized.

He says he “carefully” followed all COVID-19 guidelines during his time away and when returning to Canada.

“I felt it was important to travel at that time. This trip was not a vacation,” stated Ono.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addressed Berman’s choice during a live COVID-19 update on Thursday afternoon.

“I think we have seen that many people make decisions that they may not recognize the implications of,” she said. “I’m not gonna comment on whether it was right or wrong or good or bad.”

“Right now, more than ever, we need to stay put and not travel. And it really is the UK variant and the angst that causes, and the fact we’re seeing changes of the virus in other parts of the world. It brings home that we have here and how interconnected we are.”

Bergman joined UBC as Director of the School of Population and Public Health in 2018.

Vincent PlanaVincent Plana

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