VP quits after backlash to University of Alberta’s billboard on climate change

Ad said higher temperature and humidity will boost province’s barley yield

In this Sept. 2, 2019 photo, barley is shown ready for harvest in a field near Colfax, Wash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Ted S. Warren

A top University of Alberta official has resigned after a backlash against a billboard the school put up about the potential benefits of climate change.

Jacqui Tam, vice-president of university relations, says in a statement on the university’s website that the public response has made it clear the billboard’s wording fails to communicate the meaning and complexity of the research it references.

The ad, which is to be pulled soon, features a headline that reads “Beefier Barley” and says climate change will boost Alberta’s barley yield with less water, feeding more cattle.

Several university faculty members and students are among those who have spoken out against the billboard.

The school says it was part of its Truth Matters campaign and references 2017 research, which concluded Alberta’s beef industry would benefit from a rise in temperature and humidity.

University president David Turpin says such ads are usually approved by the executive before they are published, but for some reason that did not happen in this case.

Tam, who had held the post since July 2017, said in her statement issued on Sunday that her departure is in the best interests of the institution. She said the advertisement’s wording allows for “easy misinterpretation.”

“The messaging on the ad called the reputation of the University of Alberta and its extensive research on climate change into question,” she wrote. “As vice-president (university relations), I apologize for this and take responsibility.”

The school had previously responded to the criticism by calling the beef industry research complex and multi-faceted.

READ MORE: Young protesters across Canada demand action on climate change

“I could understand why people interpreted it the way they did,” Turpin said on Sunday. “It would not have been an ad that, if I had seen, I would have put forward.”

At the same time, he defended Tam’s character.

“You look around the world where people are always trying to blame others, find excuses. Jacqui is one of those rare human beings who has the integrity to stand up and take responsibility.” (CTV Edmonton)

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hope-raised NHL official among BC Hockey Hall of Fame inductees

Jay Sharrers officiated 1,419 regular NHL games, plus Stanley Cup finals and Olympics

How would crowded Fraser Valley hospitals deal with patient surge? Officials won’t say

Amid coronavirus case and crowding issues, health officials won’t say where more patients would go

Sasquatch Mountain Aussie Day celebration raises $800

Proceeds of bikini runs, toonie tosses and more go to wildfire victims

Artists at Work featured at Hope Arts Gallery in February

Melange 2020 will showcase myriad talents by local artists until Feb. 28

DNA confirms SUV struck and killed Abbotsford cyclist in 2015, court hears

Kerry Froese operated company that owned vehicle that struck and killed Ronald James Scott in 2015

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Party bus door fault for years ahead of Langley woman’s death: Coroner

Tuesday report classifed Chelsea James’ death accidental, but was critical of bus inspection process

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

Most Read