SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - March 7, 2008

March 7, 2008

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A look at how SFU and its people were covered in the news media: Feb. 29-March 7, 2008             

SFU’s launch of its new emergency-alert system made the news March 6, starting with CKWX reading our news release  on air.
Then CKNW interviewed project manager Steve Ray of SFU’s office of Public Affairs and Mnedia Relations. Ray diplomatically did not rub it in when show host Gord Macdonald (CKNW’s news director) said bluntly: “I can’t figure out why UBC’s system is not up and running yet.”
Ray was also interviewed by Fairchild Radio and was pursued by CBC-TV and ChannelM-TV.
Incidentally, in the first 12 hours, more than 3,600 people from SFU went online to enter cellphone numbers in the new system.


  • Vancouver Sun columnist Miro Cernetig featured20 great ideas that were born in B.C.” They included this one:

    “Founded in the 1960s, Simon Fraser University was the youngest university in a young country, with a vision of a unique institution: experimental, flexible, innovative, open, inclusive and deeply engaged in the community. It's a model that stuffier institutions—we won't name them—have been following ever since.”

  • Surrey Now said drawings of proposed twin towers at Surrey’s City Centre look like upscale condos. “But they're going to be college dorms. Surrey Campus Residences Corporation has made an application to the City of Surrey to build a 13-storey and 23-storey highrise building, joined by a one-storey podium, to serve as dormitories for students attending Simon Fraser University's Surrey campus.”

    The paper added: “According to a staff report, the developer will have to enter into a housing agreement with the city to ensure the towers remain rental units for SFU students or those who have a connection to the university.”

  • Speaking of Surrey: The Province covered a public forum there on transportation and other challenges facing the fast-growing region. Gordon Price, director of SFU’s City Program, challenged the planned South Fraser Perimeter Road:

    “Can someone give me an example where this kind of road has worked elsewhere? We're spending a billion dollars on a road without any working examples of success [elsewhere], yet when we've made commitments to build rail systems we have seen the benefits. It's curious that when we know it doesn't work, we do it, but when we know it does work, then we don't do it."

  • ran a two-part feature on energy economist Mark Jaccard with this headline: “Don't Call Him Mr. Carbon Tax.” In it, Jaccard said: “Although in the media lately I'm portrayed as the carbon tax advocate, if you read any of my work, I'm not. I'm not a carbon tax advocate."  He is, he says, an advocate of forcing people to do various things in order to lower greenhouse gas emissions. You can see the stories at:   and

  • The Globe and Mail quoted Jaccard in a piece suggesting Canada will be forced to follow whatever path the U.S. takes next year, as a new president pushes for a system of emission permit credits and the trading of those credits to reduce carbon outflow. “Prof. Jaccard sees it as exceedingly unlikely, however, that the U.S. government will dare to introduce a carbon tax, as B.C. has already done.”

    Meanwhile, The Vancouver Sun ran last week’s Terence Corcoran column from the Financial Post section of National Post. It put the boots to Jaccard and his work on carbon taxes. “ . . . We suggest a tracking device be attached to Jaccard to monitor his role in the rise of carbon tax on the Canadian agenda.”
    And Jaccard was named as a prime speaker at Globe 2008, which brings 10,000 business leaders, government policy makers, international agency representatives and others to Vancouver March 12 – 14.

  • The On the Coast show on CBC Radio interviewed business prof David Thomas about his new web-based tool for assessing an individual’s “cultural competence”. It evaluates cultural knowledge and cross-cultural skills and could help corporations and government agencies predict whether or not an employee will be effective on an overseas assignment or a multicultural work team.  Asian Pacific Post and South Asian Post also did stories.

  • On the Coast alsointerviewed Mark Wexler, professor of business ethics, on a StatsCan report on Canada's aging labour force.

  • The Tri-City News featured mathematician Malgorzata Dubiel, winner of a 3M National Teaching Fellowship, an honour shared with only nine faculty members from across Canada. "For university teachers, this is the biggest thing in Canada."

  • The Prince Rupert Daily News reported that the Pacific Salmon Foundation has named four scientists to look at salmon management on the Skeena River. Two of the members are from SFU: John Reynolds and Randall Peterman. The paper interviewed Reynolds, and he did an interview with CFTK-TV, Terrace.

  • The Cowichan Valley Citizen and the Cowichan News Leader and Pictorial covered a “Community Conversation on Multiculturalism”, a public forum in Duncan BC. SFU’s Dialogue Program is a partner in the series of such forums in communities across BC.

  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader and the Abbotsford News carried an editorial from the North Shore Outlook, endorsing the call of West Vancouver police chief Kash Heed for a regional approach to policing gangs.

    The editorial quoted Rob Gordon, director of SFU's School of Criminology: "We're still operating as if we're a collection of towns when we're not; we're a large metropolitan area - the last large metropolitan area in Canada not to have its own police force."
  • Gordon was also quoted in a Victoria Times Colonist story reporting BC Solicitor General John Les rejects a suggestion by Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe to let police departments levy their own taxes. Gordon called Lowe’s idea "amusing" and one that "bears no resemblance to the reality of managing police services."

  • The Surrey Leader also picked up an SFU news release on how the Gerontology Research Centre at SFU is looking for nominations for this year's Senior Leadership Award.

  • The Georgia Straight reported that BC tourism operators are raising the alarm over the impact of sea lice on salmon on the west coast of Vancouver Island—and thus on the tourism business. SFU ecologist Larry Dill was quoted.

  • Coquitlam Now featured SFU’s Shaela Rae Wlodarczyk, who is in this month's Miss World Canada competition—and has a larger agenda: “I have some very serious critiques of the criminal justice system, especially in Canada and the U.S. My thesis is hopefully the first step in creating a bit of awareness about the problems inherent in the way we approach justice across the world.” She’s a criminology student.

  • And Business in Surrey, the local board of trade publication, had an item on profs from the School of Interactive Arts and Technology participating in a $1.5-million grant to develop tools for Canada's digital game industry; and SIAT students and faculty helping design a solar house to be displayed in Washington DC.


  • The Canadian Press carried a national newsfeature on Statistics Canada report showing many new immigrants are working in a native tongue which is neither of the country's official languages. SFU economist Don DeVoretz was quoted at length.

    Among other things, he said: “On average, people who don't speak English (or French) and are in the labour force earn considerably less money so it's a built-in penalty they're paying.'' Once people enter Canada without English or French, DeVoretz added, most don't have time to learn either in any formal setting despite the social and economic price they pay.
    The story appeared in papers and on broadcast media across Canada.

  • CBC Radio quoted political science prof Paddy Smith in one of its many stories on how Conservative party officials allegedly offered Chuck Cadman a million-dollar life insurance policy if he voted to bring down the Liberal government in May 2005. Smith said it’s difficult for Dona Cadman, Chuck’s widow, to continue to run for the Conservatives. "But the difficulties the Conservative Party have are much larger because of this."

    Back in Vancouver, Smith was also quoted in a Frances Bula column in The Vancouver Sun, on the male-dominated “blood sport” of Vancouver civic politics, while Surrey has six women and one man on council. Said Smith: "If you talk to women in politics, they'll tell you that there's more potential for talking across the divide among women.”

  • A theory that the east coast of Australia was smashed by a series of mega-tsunamis during the last 10,000 years (with the last occurring only 500 years ago) has been challenged by a study involving SFU geographer Ian Hutchinson.

    Previously scientists had pointed to evidence of boulders on top of high cliffs and deposits over 30 km inland as proof that giant tsunamis once ravaged eastern Australia. But Val Attenbrow of the Australian Museum and Hutchinson examined aboriginal shell middens in the region. "The archaeological evidence we've examined doesn't support a mega-tsunami hypothesis," said Attenbrow. "The analysis showed no evidence of abandonment of coastal camps by Aboriginal people in the 15th century.” 
    The story appeared in Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald, and on science websites from New Zealand to India to Estonia.

  • Finn Poschmann, co-author of a 2001 report that proposed tax-free savings accounts for Canadians, explained it all in a Toronto Star article. He gave full credit to his co-author: SFU’s Jon Kesselman, public policy prof. Poschmann is director of research at the C.D. Howe Institute.

  • The Regina Leader-Post covered a speech to the Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy by prof John Richards. Richards said the low aboriginal high school completion rate and low participation in post-secondary education must be addressed. "Education is the overwhelmingly important priority. If an aboriginal spokesperson is not talking schools, my instinct is to not take them seriously."

  • The Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette and New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal picked up from CanWest News Service a Province feature on workplace depression.  Itquoted Merv Gilbert, a psychologist and co-author with two SFU colleagues (Dan Bilsker and Joti Samra from SFU's Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction) of a new workbook for employees suffering from depression.

  • Britain’s Daily Telegraph caught up to the story from three weeks ago about the human right foot that washed up in the Gulf Islands (the third such foot to wash ashore in six months). Forensic entomologist Gail Anderson was quoted.

  • That electricity-generating “knee brace” developed by SFU kinesiologist Max Donelan and his international team of researchers continues to pop up on blogs and science websites around the world. We spotted it this week in half a dozen more sites.

  • The Yukon’s Whitehorse Star covered one of a series of presentations by Beth Pentney, doctoral candidate in women's studies, on feminism, popular culture and cosmetic body modification. “We're immersed in a culture that is awash in cosmetic surgery. . . . Cosmetic surgery is viewed as a tool in the quest towards self-improvement."


  • Fifth-year guard Lani Gibbons of the SFU Clan women’s basketball team is the Canadian Interuniversity Sport women's basketball player of the year.

    She led the nation in assists for the third straight season (averaging 5.7 per outing) and contributed 12 points per game. The Province’s headline: “Little Lani stands tall as Canada's best women's basketball player”. (She is 165 cm / 5’ 5”.)
    You can see an interview with Gibbons at

  • Earlier, SFU Athletics spread the word on how (despite an opening loss at last weekend’s Canada West Final Four) the Clan women’s basketball team was still officially seeded #1 going into the national finals March 7. The Clan is the defending champion.

  • The Province featured the Langford brothers: Bruce, coach of the Clan women’s basketball team, and Paul, coach of Port Coquitlam’s Riverside high school senior girls team. Paul’s team went into the senior girls Triple A championships this week as the team to beat.

  • SFU Athletics also told media how two SFU swimmers were named as NAIA swimmers of the year: Niels Mutzenburger among the men and Vicky Sui among the women. Their teams finished second in the 2008 NAIA swimming and diving national championships in San Antonio last weekend.

  • Meanwhile, the women’s wrestling team took top honours (for the fifth time) at the 2008 CIS National Championships and Miranda Dick was named the outstanding female wrestler of the year, and Clan head coach Mike Jones was named top women's coach for the fifth time. The Clan men brought home a silver medal, while SFU’s Dustyn Fisher was named outstanding male wrestler of the year.

  • 24Hours caught up to the signing by the Vancouver Whitecaps of defender Luca Bellisomo, after a four-year soccer career at SFU. In his senior year, he guided the Clan to a 17-2-1 record, was named a NAIA First Team All-American, and was on the NAIA All-Region Team.

  • The Langley Times featured high school basketball player Kevin Jackel—and gave much ink to the fact that he is the son of Mike Jackel, a standout with the SFU Clan from 1978-1982. And the Delta Optimist carried a feature on the selection of  Alan Kristmanson to the Basketball B.C. Hall of Fame. He played at SFU, and on Canada’s national team.


  • An open letter in the Daily Gleaner in Fredericton NB expressed “grave concerns” about proposals from the New Brunswick Commission on French as a Second Language, including elimination of NB’s early French immersion program. Among those who signed: Diane Dagenais of SFU’s education faculty.

  • Historian Mark Leier signed up to do two seven-minute spots with Omni-TV on the subject of anarchism. Leier is the author of Bakunin: A Biography, which was reviewed as “brilliant”, and “ . . .  probably the best book, certainly the most complete book, on the life, the times, and the ideas of anarchism’s most important philosopher.”



  • Business Edge reported how arts and culture centres are transforming rundown areas of Toronto and Edmonton. And, it added: “In Vancouver, artists are sparking a similar revitalization in the city's Downtown Eastside. . . . Anchoring this development is a centre for contemporary art for Simon Fraser University.”
  • The Detroit News Online featured “video painting” as an art genre. It quoted (and used a photo of) Jim Bizzocchi, filmmaker and prof at the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at the Surrey campus.

  • The Globe and Mail looked at how new print-on-demand technology is making vanity publishing better and cheaper.For example,“a professor could print small runs of textbooks, updated every time she teaches a course.” Rowland Lorimer of the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing at SFU was quoted.

  • The Vancouver Sun reported that the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare festival will run for an extra week this year. (The dates: May 29 to Sept. 27). And the Sun noted there will be a special event: “On July 7, in a forum called Threat to Order, Paul Budra of Simon Fraser University will lead a discussion of themes from this year's plays.”

  • Civil War historian Michael Fellman of SFU reviewed, in The Vancouver Sun, the book This Republic Of Suffering: Death And The American Civil War, by Drew Gilpin Faust (the new president of Harvard). Wrote Fellman: “With all the books written about the Civil War, none has explored its huge impact in such a thorough and sensitive manner.”

  • Much farther from home, the Maui News reported how SFU pipe band piper Jack Lee and drummer J. Reid Maxwell, both international champions, are the headliners at a fund-raising concert March 14 for the Isle of Maui Pipe Band.



  • SFU issued a news release on SFU’s launch March 6 of SFU Alerts, the mass-notification system that can quickly deliver emergency messages to the university community via text messaging, instant messaging (IM), e-mail and voice messaging. SFU Alerts performed successfully in trials, and the release said there will be a university-wide test of the system by mid-April.

  • Another SFU news release announced that SFU Chancellor Brandt C. Louie will serve a second three-year term, following his re-election by acclamation. And we put out a news release on the appointment of businessman Peter Dhillon and lawyer Brian Taylor to SFU’s Board of Governors. Dhillon is CEO of B.C. based Richberry Group, one of Ocean Spray Cranberries’ largest shareholders and suppliers. Taylor is a partner with Bull, Housser & Tupper.

  • SFU/TRIUMF physicist Michel Vetterli told media how he and his SFU team are anxiously waiting for the ATLAS project’s data collection to begin this summer. The release went out as ATLAS announced the completion of its spectrometer, a giant electronic camera capable of detecting particles when protons collide at a higher energy than ever achieved in the laboratory.

SFU’s news releases can be found online at:

ALSO in the NEWS

  • The Vancouver Sun announced plans for a special edition of the paper that explores the concept of a “civil society” and how to achieve it. It has invited “seven eminent individuals” to be editors of the paper on April 5. They include Milton Wong, philanthropist and chancellor emeritus of SFU.

  • The North Shore Outlook carried a big (4,000-word) newsfeature on the work of Alison Lawton,  including her documentary on civil strife in Uganda.  "While promoting Uganda Rising in 2006 Lawton also engineered a campaign called Act for Stolen Children, connecting companies, academics, policy makers and United Nations representatives to demand international action to end the civil war and neglected humanitarian crisis." And, as the story noted, she won a 2008 Outstanding Alumni Award from the SFU Alumni Association.

  • The Vancouver Sun’s real estate section did a story on the “Ultra”, a new-home project in the Urban Village community next door to SFU’s Surrey campus. Said Bob Dominick of Weststone Properties: ''We've seen in the past how real estate attached to SFU's Burnaby campus has a high premium."

  • Business in Vancouver reported that David Gillanders received the SFU Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award. Gillanders is a partner and senior practitioner in the Vancouver office of the business law firm Stikeman Elliott. He is also chair of the SFU Community Trust.

  • Business in Vancouver also noted the death in January of Marvin Stark, longtime Vancouver lawyer, following injuries from a fall last November. He was 77. In 1997, SFU made him a professor emeritus—the first time that this designation had been granted to a part-time assistant prof.
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