Director of UBC public health school says he travelled over the holidays

The director of the School of Population and Public Health said he travelled over the holidays in a letter posted today on the school’s website.

In the letter, Professor Peter Berman expressed regret over his decision to travel.

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

He also reaffirmed support for the efforts of his colleagues and public health authorities in addressing the pandemic. He added that he is “complying with all requirements for pandemic control and will continue to do so.”

Berman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Details of where, when and why he travelled remain unclear.

His letter follows the resignations or demotions of top lawmakers in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba after it was found that they travelled despite public health recommendations.

Provincial public health officials have urged British Columbians to stay local and avoid non-essential travel within and outside the province to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

“Much of the travel we have seen described is clearly non-essential travel and that’s obviously disappointing," said Health Minister Adrian Dix at a press conference today.

Matthew Ramsey, UBC Media Relations director of university affairs, said in an emailed statement that the university had no jurisdiction over individuals’ private decisions.

“We are aware that some university administrators, students, faculty and staff may have chosen to travel over the holiday break,” he said.

“Individuals in our community are free to make personal decisions around how they choose to spend their personal time. The university has no jurisdiction over policing those private decisions but expects everyone in its community to follow health guidelines.”

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