SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - January 18, 2008

January 18, 2008

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A look at how SFU and its people were covered in the news media: Jan. 11-18, 2008                                           

From expert commentary on BC’s $14-billion transportation plan, to research on specially desighn homes where asthmatics can “Breathe Easy”. . . .

From a Page 1 story on SFU’s moves to deal with dangerous 15-passenger vans to a Page 1 story on silverfish in SFU’s “insectary”. . . .

And from avalanche risks to “Alberta Exceptionalism”. . . .

All put SFU people in the news this week.


  • Vice-president Warren Gill (wearing his transportation geographer’s hat) was in demand by media when the BC government announced its $14-billion transportation plans this week. “Infrastructure for the ages,” he said in the Globe and Mail. “It means Vancouver will be a functional city long into the future. People who come to Vancouver will be able to get around in the city just as they would in some of the world's great cities—New York, London, Chicago.”

    Gill’s quote turned up in the Ottawa Citizen, in an editorial on the issue of parking in downtown Ottawa. “It will be a number of years before we hear someone like Warren Gill, a transportation studies professor at Simon Fraser University, talk about Ottawa as he did Vancouver's transit initiative yesterday—calling it ‘infrastructure for the ages’."
    Gill also walked The Vancouver Sun through some of the potential impacts of transit development and construction. As well, he did a half-hour appearance on the Bill Good show on CKNW, appeared on the BC Almanac show on CBC Radio, and was on CKWX.
  • Meanwhile, Gordon Price, director of SFU’s City Program, was in the Surrey-North Delta Leader praising the transportation plan. "It takes what was a backlogged and frustrated planning process and has moved it forward at least a generation. . . . They've backed it up with enough specifics you can take it seriously." That story also ran in the Richmond Review and Burnaby Newsleader.

  • Physician Tim Takaro, associate professor of health sciences at SFU, was also busy with media.

    The Globe and Mail carried a hefty feature on research showing a house designed to minimize triggers for asthma can reduce the suffering of asthmatic children as much as—if not more than—prescription drugs. “Housing is a very important determinant in the health of asthmatics," said Takaro.

    The research centred on 35 special “Breathe Easy” homes in Seattle, which were built to Takaro’s specifications.

    The Almanac show on CBC Radio quickly had Takaro on a call-in show. And The Vancouver Sun asked him to write a 1,000-word article, with photos, about his research. Channel-M TV set up an interview, and he had a call from Mountain FM radio in Squamish.
  • The Globe and Mail looked at the way young skiers and boarders so often head out of bounds at ski resorts, and into potential avalanche danger. Among those quoted was Pascal Haegeli of SFU’s School for Resource and Environmental Management—a “35-year-old ski bum turned snow scientist.” He’s on a research project that aims to create some sort of tool that will help out-of-bounders get a handle on avalanche hazards.

    The story was quickly picked up by a couple of papers in avalanche country: the Canmore (AB) Leader and the Banff Crag and Canyon.

    Meanwhile, the Parksville-Qualicum Beach News picked up a quote from earth sciences prof John Clague on avalanche deaths in BC.
  • Another Canadian Press story looked at how some people tend to gain more weight in the winter because they eat more starchy foods and more comfort foods. Among those quoted: SFU’s Diane Finegood, scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes. We saw it first in the Calgary Sun, then in four Ontario papers (Peterborough Examiner, Simcoe Reformer, Brockville Recorder and Times, and the Stratford Beacon-Herald.) It was also in the Moncton (NB) Times and Transcript.

  • The Fraser Institute issued a report saying Ottawa should lift restrictions on foreign banks entering Canada, for the sole purpose of lending, in order to increase competition and provide additional credit to entrepreneurs. The author: John Chant, professor emeritus of economics.

    “Openness to foreign competition is a common feature of countries whose banks show a strong performance in business lending,” said Chant. It was in media across the country, and was cited in an editorial in National Post.
  • Also appearing in media across Canada was a Canadian Press feature that raised the question of whether suburban prostitutes are more vulnerable to attack or murder because of a lack of support services compared with their big-city counterparts. SFU criminologist John Lowman said that’s not the real problem.

    ''What we've done for the last 30 years is talk about the need to dispose of street prostitution and in the minds of certain predatory, misogynistic men that translates into disposing of prostitutes.”
  • The New-York based Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation and the Association for Frontotemporal Dementia announce recipients of grants for drug discovery research to accelerate the development of novel therapies for frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Among the winners: chemistry prof David Vocadlo of SFU.

  • The Montreal Gazette picked up last week’s Pete McMartin column from The Vancouver Sun, in which McMartin quoted immigration expert Don DeVoretz of SFU. DeVoretz said would-be immigrant Laibar Singh’s bid to stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds has absolutely no merit; and the case could set a dangerous precedent.

    DeVoretz was also in Embassy, the Ottawa-based foreign affairs weekly, on a touchy issue between China and Canada. He said the Chinese fail to understand that Canada cannot simply deport those who claim refugee status. “They really don't . . . understand this is due process. They don't get it." Seems it’s an issue stopping China from granting Canada “Approved Destination Status”, which would open the door to greater numbers of Chinese visitors.
  • Herbert Grubel, professor emeritus of economics, wrote a guest article in the Financial Post section of National Post proposing a “permanent cure” for swings in t the Canadian dollar, with a new Canadian currency board and a “New Canadian Dollar” valued at par with the U.S. dollar.

  • The Canadian Press carried across the country a feature on a unique marketing campaign in support of the battle against breast cancer. It includes an interactive exhibit of breasts. John Peloza, assistant prof of marketing at SFU, said one of the interesting things about is its use of the online medium to draw the user. "It's not a social networking site per se but it's highly involving.” CBC News picked up the story.


  • Following on the horrific van crash in New Brunswick that killed seven high-school basketball players and a teacher, The Vancouver Sun asked about SFU’s use of such 15-passenger vans. It then reported

    “Simon Fraser University’s athletics department moved swiftly this week to declare a moratorium on such vans being used to transport athletic teams. It told two teams scheduled to travel this weekend to make other arrangements.

    “They are too dangerous,” said Nello Angerilli, an SFU associate vice-president. “Safety is of paramount importance.”

    The Sun continued: “Pat Frouws, SFU child-care executive director, said late Tuesday she has suspended use of the (SFU daycare) van effective immediately.”
  • Criminologist Rob Gordonwas in the Victoria Times Colonist, saying Victoria's police board should be more of a civilian watchdog and less of a rubber stamp. "People want to know how funds are going to be expended. That's reasonable, otherwise it is a bottomless pit into which people just keep throwing cash."

  • Associate business prof Brenda Lautsch, co-author of the new book CEO of Me: Crafting a Life that Works in the Flexible Job Age, added the Executive Edge (and SFU News) to her list of media hits. Earlier, she had been interviewed by GlobalTV, the Christy Clark show on CKNW, the Sean Leslie and Cameron Bell show on CKNW, CKNW's World Today show, the BreakfastTV show on CityTV and Surrey-based OMNI-TV.

  • The Vancouver Courier carried a big feature on silverfish: “Ancient, elusive and high on the ick scale, silverfish are one of Vancouver's most common and most hated insect pests. Scientists at SFU are working on a way to get them out of your home.”

    Stars of the feature: graduate student Nate Woodbury and prof Gerhard Gries. The Courier visited them in the bug-lab “insectary” at the Burnaby campus.
  • Criminologist Neil Boyd was in a Province story on whether Canadians will ever be allowed to own personal Tasers. He said it would be a "bad idea".

  • The Vancouver Sun carried a story on an article in the magazine Foreign Policy, written by Graham Fuller, adjunct professor at SFU and former vice-chair of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA. He contended that a terrorist attack on the U.S. like that of 9/11 would likely have occurred even if the Muslim religion had never existed. “A world without Islam would still see most of the enduring bloody rivalries whose wars and tribulations dominate the geopolitical landscape.”

  • The Vancouver Sun carried a feature on copyright issues around iPods and MP3 players and what can be played on them. Among those quoted was Geoffrey Glass, a masters student in communications at SFU and member of a Facebook group that is asking Ottawa to be cautious with new copyright laws.

  • The Tri-City News, Surrey-North Delta Leader, Burnaby Now, Richmond News and Chilliwack Progress ran SFU’s news release on the senate’s approval of a two-week break in classes in February 2010 to accommodate the Winter Olympic Games.


  • Energy guru Mark Jaccard wrote a guest article in The Vancouver Sun, saying in part: “Monday's announcement by our provincial government of plans to expand public transit infrastructure . . . should be applauded. Unfortunately, the relationship between cars and climate is more complicated than sometimes portrayed.”

  • As greenhouse gases and carbon taxes remained in the news, The National on CBC-TV interviewed SFU sociologist Hannah Wittman on “carbon offset projects.” (In which, for example, people travelling by air seek to compensate for their share of the plane’s emissions by paying into a project that benefits the environment, such as planting trees somewhere.) She says the question is whether they even work—or amount to little more than guilt money for the rich.

  • The Victoria Times Colonist, in an editorial, said approvingly: “The provincial government appears ready to heed Simon Fraser University economist Mark Jaccard's recommendation and introduce a carbon tax on gasoline in next month's budget.”

  • The Peace Arch News, Abbotsford News and the Maple Ridge News picked up an earlier syndicated story on the call by the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy for a national carbon tax, a carbon-trading system, or a combination of the two. It noted that Jaccard is a member of the Roundtable, and is a special advisor to the BC government on the issue. The Williams Lake Tribune, Ladysmith Chronicle and Arrow Lakes News also ran the story.

  • In a Canadian Press follow-up story, federal finance Jim Flaherty said a patchwork of carbon taxes and greenhouse gas rules across the country isn't a good solution to environmental woes. The story noted that profs from SFU and other BC universities have recommended to BC finance minister Carole Taylor a revenue-neutral carbon tax for the next BC budget.

  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader promoted a free public lecture at the Surrey campus by environmental author James Howard Kunstler, SFU's first visiting fellow in urban sustainable development. He says climate change and a permanent oil crisis are just two of the "converging catastrophes" that face people in the Lower Mainland. (The lecture: Jan. 21, p.m., room 2600. Admission is free but seating is limited. To reserve a seat, contact or 778-782-7914.)

  • The Kelowna Capital News reported on a “groundbreaking” report on water resources in the region. Written by Laurie Neilson-Welch, a PhD student at SFU in hydrogeology, the draft report will lead to further research and data-gathering on water supply and demand there.


  • The Vancouver Sun—and media right across North America—reported that the door is now open to Canadian schools joining the U.S. National Collegiate Athletic Association, “but both UBC and SFU aren't ready to step through it quite yet.”

Diane St-Denis, SFU's acting athletics director, said: “This must involve discussions with many people on campus, not just those involved in athletics."

  • The Burnaby News Leader reported that SFU softball player Melanie Matthews will be up against Trinity Western University volleyball star Josh Howatson and UBC swimmer Brian Johns for the title of BC university athlete of the year. Award winners will be announced at Sport BC's annual athlete of the year banquet March 5.

  • SFU Athletics told media that the Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame will admit two Clan basketball stars Alex Devlin (player category) and Stan Stewardson (coach category) in February. Devlin played for SFU from 1969 until 1973, and began a career with the Canadian National Team in 1972. Stewardson was head coach from 1975-1979 and 1984-1989. His 1986 team recorded a record of 24-10, still the best winning percentage for an SFU men’s basketball team.

  • The Province featured Greg Wallis of the Clan basketball team. Now in his second season as a starting forward, he and a former teammate at Victoria's Camosun College have begun to turn a profit from an athletic apparel and basketball camp company they have named Passion Sports.


  • The Vancouver Sun and The Province both picked up an SFU news release on the appointment of longtime business prof Daniel Shapiro as dean of the Faculty of Business Administration.

  • Burnaby Now carried in full SFU’s news release on howthe university's education faculty is launching the only TV show dedicated to in-depth coverage on education issues in British Columbia. Your Education Matters will premiere Jan. 21 on ShawTV (channel 4 in the Lower Mainland). The half-hour show will be hosted by Paul Shaker, dean of education. (Details: The Vancouver Sun also carried a brief announcing the show.

  • The Prince Rupert Daily News ran a feature on LUCID Research Partnership, “a Simon Fraser University-led project with the over-all aim of increasing First Nations student learning by engaging their emotions and connecting their imaginations to curriculum material.” Quoted was program leader Debbie Leighton-Stephens, an SFU grad. The News noted the LUCID project director is Mark Fettes of SFU’s education faculty.


  • The Vancouver Sun quoted Owen Anderson of Liberal and Business Studies in a story on how Alberta outpaces BC in employment, entrepreneurialism and, it seems, the arts. "It's what I call Alberta Exceptionalism," Anderson said. "There are more playwrights, musicians and artists per capita in Alberta than anywhere else in Canada . . . from Joni Mitchell to k.d. lang and a thousand others you've never heard of; the point is that Albertans aren't afraid to do their own thing."

  • The Province reviewedProximity Arts' Antic, interactive performance piece comprising antiques wired to tell the social history of the items on display. The paper noted it uses a computer program from Greg Corness of SFU’s School for Interactive Arts and Technology. (At Blim in Vancouver, 197 E. 17th Ave., through Feb. 16.)

  • Gallerieswest magazine reported how the School for the Contemporary Arts moves into the downtown eastside Woodward’s project in late 2009 as “part of a larger redevelopment that is expected to become a cultural magnet for the city.”

  • Burnaby Now gave space to promoting the 2008 season of free shows being offered at the Burnaby campus by the School for the Contemporary Arts. (Thursdays, 12:30 p.m., details at or call 778-782-3514.)

  • David Chariandy’s book Soucouyant was reviewed by the Winnipeg Free Press: “A frightfully imaginative yet psychologically astute novel.” It was a finalist for the 2007 Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, and was longlisted for the 2007 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Chariandy is an assistant prof of English and post-colonial literature.

  • The Vancouver Sun featured junior figure skaters Tarrah Harvey and Keith Gagnon at the Canadian championships in Vancouver. “Gagnon is 20 and a student at SFU. They're in their 10th season together skating for the White Rock-South Surrey Figure Skating Club.”


Other news releases this week included word on:

  • Michael Audain, arts philanthropist and chair of Polygon Homes Ltd., is donating $2 million to the new state-of-art education and performance centre of the SFU School for the Contemporary Arts. The facility will be a cornerstone in the Woodward’s redevelopment project in Vancouver.

  • Robbie Burns Day celebrations taking place Jan. 25 at all three campuses, and the SFU pipe bands’ fundraising dinner that evening at the Executive Plaza Hotel in Coquitlam. (Details: The dinner also got a plug in Surrey Now.

  • SFU’s office of Public Affairs and Media Relations also linked media with a number of SFU experts for their stories. Among them: political scientist Marjorie Griffen Cohen on the firing of Linda Keen as president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission; John O’Neil, dean of health sciences, on health issues in Canada’s fast-growing aboriginal population; psychology grad student Kim van der Woerd on the role of support systems in conquering addictions; Sean Markey, assistant professor of geography, on the federal aid package for economically troubled communities; and Les Vertesi and John Calvert, public policy analysts with appointments in health sciences, on waiting times for MRIs;

    SFU’s news releases can be found online at:


  • BBA student Tom Kineshanko wrote a letter to the editor of The Vancouver Sun, supporting an earlier letter from an undergrad that said SFU’s business school doesn’t cover deeply enough sustainability as a business issue. “ . . . If the school wants to maintain its position as a leading Canadian business school, it must quickly recognize that this critical issue affects every aspect of business and integrate sustainability into the foundation of the entire business curriculum.”

  • The Abbotsford News reported that local resident Shawn Neumann is one of Business in Vancouver's "40 Under 40." He established Abbotsford-based Domain7 Solutions in 1996, after graduating with economics and history degrees from SFU.

  • The Abbotsford News also featured Vancouver police chief Jim Chu. The News noted he joined the Vancouver force after only a year at SFU—but came back and completed his BBA, while working fulltime.

  • The Powell River Peak featured Tracy Tunstall, a youth support worker for Powell River Child, Youth and Family Services. The paper spoke of her honors criminology education at SFU.

  • A column in the Globe and Mail bewailed the closure of the Think Coffee Lounge & Bistro on 10th Avenue in Vancouver, on the edge of the UBC campus. “Owner Greg Lomnes, a Simon Fraser University philosophy grad . . . clearly wanted a place that had an academic vibe. . . . Ironically, he now thinks (the failure) was because of the concept itself: the academic tone, the books, the WiFi.”

  • In a guest column in The Vancouver Sun, James Steidle proposed that BC transfer a portion of the “school tax” to municipal governments. (“The school tax, despite its name, has nothing to do with schools. It is a provincial property tax that goes directly to the provincial treasury, where it funds all provincial programs.”) The paper noted Steidle studied urban policy at SFU and wrote his MA thesis on the inequity of the school tax.

  • The Moncton (NB) Times and Transcript reported the appointment of the new Petitcodiac riverkeeper, Tim Van Hinte. He has a masters in resource and environmental management from SFU, the paper noted.
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