UBC public health faculty members pen letter slamming director’s Hawaiian vacation

0
20
UBC public health faculty members pen letter slamming director’s Hawaiian vacation

Nearly two dozen faculty members of UBC’s School of Population and Public Health have signed a letter expressing dismay over their director’s travel to Hawaii amid COVID-19 restrictions.

Dr. Peter Berman apologized this week for taking an overseas vacation, despite public health advisories not to travel and as most British Columbians called off traditional holiday gatherings.

Read more:
Head of UBC school of public health apologizes for Hawaiian trip during COVID-19

“A public health leader should know better,” states the letter signed by 19 professors.

“This decision to travel harms our school’s ability to contribute leadership in calling for our communities to sustain daily sacrifices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 for the public good.”


Click to play video 'Top B.C. health educator vacationed in Hawaii'







Top B.C. health educator vacationed in Hawaii


Top B.C. health educator vacationed in Hawaii

The professors say they were “dismayed” by both Berman and UBC’s response to the director’s travel.

Story continues below advertisement

They go on to say that while they’ve worked hard to set the right example around adhering to COVID-19 restrictions, they’re also privileged enough to have the resources not to feel the worst impacts of the pandemic.

“It is therefore deeply disturbing to see those in positions of leadership take advantage of their privileged, and act in ways that rupture solidarity and fuel narratives of distrust and misinformation.”

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

While the letter stops short of calling for Berman to step down, others haven’t been as forgiving.

Earlier this week a pair of graduates from the school came forward to call for Berman’s firing.

Story continues below advertisement

In a statement, UBC said it can not police employees’ personal time.

Berman was the latest in a string of high-profile officials, many of them provincial and federal politicians, who has been caught taking sunny vacations over the winter break.

Read more:
Coronavirus: Canadians visiting Hawaii in droves despite advice to avoid non-essential travel

International travel is not banned under COVID-19 restrictions, but both the provincial and federal government have strongly advised against it.


Click to play video '‘Albertans are extremely upset’: political scientist on what Kenney faces after controversy'







‘Albertans are extremely upset’: political scientist on what Kenney faces after controversy


‘Albertans are extremely upset’: political scientist on what Kenney faces after controversy

Communications consultant Bill Tielman echoed some of the professors’ concerns, warning that by appearing to flout their own advice, officials risked undermining the fight against the virus.

“These travelling politicians are giving comfort to conspiracy theorists, to crazies, to people who say everything is fake news about COVID-19, despite the enormous death toll,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more:
Alberta MLAs who travelled during COVID-19 pandemic lose ministry portfolios

“The more we see politicians undermining the public health authorities, the more likely it is people will say, ‘see, it’s just a joke.’”

As of Friday, British Columbia had recorded 988 COVID-19 deaths, while the seven-day moving average for test positivity was over eight per cent.

On Thursday, B.C. extended COVID-19 restrictions, including a ban on all social gatherings, until Feb. 5.





© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.