No, That's Not Our Website

Doppelgangers - they're everywhere. For example, have you seen Tim Caulfield around campus?

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Doppelgangers - they're everywhere. For example, have you seen Tim Caulfield around campus?

Image for PostShane Riczu and Timothy Caulfield - or is it the other way round?

Are you sure it wasn't Shane Riczu? Although one works on North Campus and the other at Enterprise Square, it's not uncommon for the two to be confused…. or at least for Shane to be confused for Tim.

Now try this one - does this seem familiar?

"But along with these early milestones came the First World War and the global influenza pandemic of 1918, whose toll on the university resulted in a two-month suspension of classes in the fall of 1918. Despite these setbacks, the university continued to grow. By 1920, it had six faculties (Arts and Sciences, Applied Science, Agriculture, Medicine, Dentistry, and Law) and two schools (Pharmacy and Chemistry). It awarded a range of degrees: Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSA), Bachelor of Laws (LLB), Bachelor of Pharmacy (PhmB), Bachelor of Divinity (BD), Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc), and Doctor of Laws (LLD). There were 851 male students and 251 female students, and 171 academic staff, including 14 women."

If you know your University of Alberta trivia, then your answer should be "yes…" This sounds a lot like the early history of the U of A, and yet the source of this particular passage was the website for the California South University. If you were to keep reading through the (thankfully, now defunct) site, you would see other familiar-but-not-quite-right passages like this:

"Spurred by postwar growth in the student population and the discovery of oil in Leduc in 1947, the California South University underwent expansion through the 1950s that continued through the 1960s as the baby-boom generation swelled the enrolment ranks. These two decades also saw expansion of campus buildings, including new buildings for the faculties of physical education and education, and the Cameron Library."

Or, a look at their campuses reveals that they too have "five distributed campuses including, in addition to the North Campus, two auxiliary satellites: Campus Saint-Jean in southeast Edmonton, and Augustana Campus in Camrose," but their Augustana campus is "90 kilometres southeast of Irvine."

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Like all doppelgangers, the story of California South University is nearly identical to ours, but with just enough difference to make a careful observer say "hey, wait a minute." If their website and our website were a pair of people you might say "hey, you look like…." Or you might share a photo of the two on social media - you might even turn them into a meme. But taking the content of another website, or claiming an institution's story as your own calls for a different response.

If you see a website misusing the University of Alberta's information as their own, report it. To do so, contact University Relations, Marketing and Communications, via the email address No question or tip is too small or silly. If anyone is not sure if a website is legitimate, send a quick email to find out.

As Brenda Briggs, our own Trademarks & Licensing expert, puts it "usually, there is an attitude of "what is the big deal with using the university's name/logo/trademarks"? Well, it is a big deal. Entities use the university's trademarks to gain access to the reputation of the university, and to align themselves with the university in a manner that will make them look good. The University of Alberta means something, and we all need to care about it when someone tries to use the university's identity without permission - even for a website that changed the name but little else." is no longer live; it came down over the weekend after the U of A made a number of requests to the site's service provider to have the website removed.

If you're interested in learning more about the absurdity of the fake university that copied the University of Alberta, check out this blog post from Grover Lab."Or peruse this article from The Gateway. Or enjoy Tom Spear's investigation for Post Media.Grover Lab."Or peruse this article from The Gateway. Or enjoy Tom Spear's investigation for Post Media.