SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - March 14, 2008

March 14, 2008

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A look at how SFU and its people were covered in the news media: March 7-14, 2008             

An electricity-generating “knee brace” device developed by SFU kinesiologist Max Donelan and team is still in the news, five weeks after its public unveiling.
This week’s big hit was a feature on Voice of America, which has a world-wide radio audience of more than 115 million people a week, with broadcasts in 45 languages. 
Also big in the news this week: SFU athletes, teams and coaches.


  • The On the Coast show on CBC Radio interviewed Michelle Patterson, health sciences researcher and psychologist, on the 2008 Metro Vancouver Homeless Count. So did Christy Clark on CKNW.

    Patterson is co-author of a comprehensive new report indicating the number of homeless people in BC is far greater than previous government figures suggest.
    Channel M-TV ran a story on SFU’s new emergency-alert system—and interviews with students—on newscasts aimed at two different ethnic audiences. Stories also appeared in Burnaby Now and Coquitlam Now.
  • Political scientist Doug Ross was on the Bill Good show on CKNW, talking about Thursday’s Parliamentary vote to extend Canada’s mission in Afghanistan until July 2011. Ross says the vote was conducted with “very little in the way of serious strategic thought” about the mission. “Sadly, scandalously, Canada's Afghan policy-making seems utterly bereft of any realistic conceptual foundation, beyond showing 'moral support' for the American ‘long war' on terrorism.  The Canadian Forces and Canadians deserve much better.”

  • Criminologist Ehor Boyanowsky was on CTV in a story about the road-rage killing of a 21-year-old man in Langley this week.

  • Robert Gordon, director of criminology, was on CKNW talking about Vancouver gang killings, with host Gord Macdonald. This on the heels of yet another gang slaying in Vancouver and one more in Surrey.

    Gordon was also in the Victoria Times Colonist, commenting on a report in Maclean’s that Victoria is the eighth most crime-ridden city in Canada. (New Westminster was #6, Chilliwack #7, Vancouver #9.) Gordon challenged the study’s comparison of Canadian and U.S. crime rates, and said he does not believe Victoria is one of Canada's most dangerous communities. "It's a ridiculous statement to make."
  • 24Hours carried a brief on the restoration of the grave site of explorer Simon Fraser. It was a labour of love for a small group of history buffs in St. Andrews West, Ontario. They received a $2,500 donation from SFU, and personal donations from Yosef Wosk and Chancellor Brandt Louie.

  • With Councillor Raymond Louie declaring he now is in Vancouver’s mayoralty race, Vancouver Sun columnist Frances Bula noted he has “a raft of supporters from the Chinese community.” Bula added: “The Chinese vote is crucial in Vancouver. In the last election, an exit-poll analysis done by Simon Fraser University Prof. Kennedy Stewart estimated that 11,000 of the 17,000 Chinese people who voted in the election supported NPA Mayor Sam Sullivan. Sullivan won by only 4,000 votes. . . .”

  • The Sun’s Bula also covered a speech in which Surrey mayor Dianne Watts announced plans to move Surrey city hall to the Central City area—home of the Surrey campus.

  • The Province featured, an online matchmaking service. Richard Smith, associate professor of communication, was quoted: “Why is it so popular? It works. You meet more people more quickly and you can sift out the losers and you don't have to spend a lot of time cruising at bars.” The Edmonton Journal picked up the story.

  • The Tri-City News carried a lengthy letter from criminology student Shaela Rae Wlodarczyk, who is in this month's Miss World Canada competition. “I have earned my place because of the standards I live by, which perpetuate all aspects of my life, namely a strong work ethic, discipline, determination and confidence. I am not a stereotype; I am a multi-faceted individual, just like the beautifully diverse province I represent.”

  • The Vancouver Sun carried a letter from fourth-year student Wendy McNeeley: “ . . . Deliberative polls, public-juries and, of course, citizens' assemblies like the one held on electoral reform . . . provide accessibility for both citizen involvement and public sphere discourse.”

  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader was the first paper to carry SFU’s news release on the appointment of businessman Peter Dhillon and lawyer Brian Taylor to SFU’s Board of Governors.

  • The Victoria Times Colonist noted that SFU had a team of business students in Victoria this week for the 2008 International Undergraduate Case Competition at Royal Roads University.

  • The Vernon Morning Star promoted a public forum on multiculturalism. Joanna Ashworth, SFU dialogue program director, was quoted.


  • Vice-president Warren Gill, in his role as a transportation geographer, was called on by CBC Radio and CBC-TV as the federal Transportation Safety Board released its report on the sinking two years ago of the BC ferry Queen of the North. Gill did a CBC-TV interview for The National news, and appeared on a CBC Radio special news program.

  • The electricity-generating “knee brace” developed by kinesiologist Max Donelan and team continues to star in blogs and news media around the world. As noted above, this week’s big hit was a feature on Voice of America. And the children's magazine MUSE, based in Chicago, called for a photo and graphic to run with a story in its May-June issue.

  • The Financial Post section of National Post looked at how Baby Boomer women are making major career changes later and later in life. Barbara Mitchell, associate professor of sociology and gerontology at SFU, was quoted. "The previous generation were socialized to be more traditional homemakers, whereas the Baby Boomers grew up in a time of social change and opportunities for women."

  • The Canadian Press carried a story on a U.S. study that found regular counselling sessions can be better than other strategies in helping people lose weight. SFU’s Diane Finegood, scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes was quoted.

  • Speaking of weight (or of weights and fitness) a new Globe and Mail column on the science of sport was asked: “What should I do first at the gym: cardio or weights?” Derek Hansen, strength and conditioning coach for Clan women’s basketball team, gave this answer: “We typically have our athletes lift weights, jump and sprint one day, then do their aerobic work the next day.”

  • Maclean’s examined statements by federal Health Minister Tony Clements on drug use in Canada, and questioned data showing use of marijuana by Canadians exceeds that of other industrialized nations. It quoted criminologist Neil Boyd as saying Canadians may simply be more open about their marijuana consumption because it's not as stigmatized here.

  • The Canadian Press carried an advance feature on 32nd annual Battle of the Brains—known formally as the Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest. The 100-team event includes computer wizards from SFU and five other Canadian universities.



  • SFU Athletics fed the media details as the Clan track and field team closed out the 2008 NAIA indoor championships in Tennessee last weekend with 11 All-American performances.  The women’s team placed third over-all while Ruky Abdulai was named Most Valuable Female Performer of the meet. She is the only woman in the NAIA to win four consecutive indoor high jump titles. Clan coach Brit Townsend was named Region 1 Female Coach of the Year. (Full meet results can be found on the NAIA website at and videos of most races can be found at

  • Athletics also told media how SFU took over the lead in the first winter NAIA U.S. Sports Academy Directors’ Cup standings. SFU placed second in both men’s and women’s swimming, third in women’s indoor track and field and 20th in men’s indoor track and field to move ahead of California’s Azusa Pacific.

  • And we told media that point guard Kevin Pribilsky from Oak Bay high school (and the BC Under-17 team) will join the Clan’s men’s basketball ranks.  “He is just a great basketball player,” said head coach Scott Clark. “He has some quickness, which is something that will definitely add to our basketball team.”

  • There was big media coverage across Canada as the Clan women’s basketball team, defending champions and seeded #1, lost their first game in the CIS national championships, 71-68 to #8 Laval. "We had young kids who were nervous and didn't recover well from it," head coach Bruce Langford told The Province. “Today will be a reminder for them the rest of their careers."

    They did go on to rout the host Saskatchewan Huskies 91-69 in the consolation final, taking fifth place. But #2-seeded UBC took the gold, hammering the Regina Cougars 67-46.

  • The Vancouver Sun’s movie pages reported: “The SFU campus goes to military school”. The story: “Simon Fraser University put out official notice that The Day The Earth Stood Still will be filming around campus until March 20. . . . The set is a military academy and there will be army vehicles and actors dressed in army uniforms present at the entrance to the university.”


In addition to news releases mentioned above:

  • We spread the word to media about the 10 people to be recognized with honorary degrees from SFU this year. Rick Hansen, writer William Gibson and Coast Salish artist Susan Point are among six to receive honorary degrees during spring convocation June 3 – 6. Former UBC President Martha Piper will be one of four to take the stage during fall convocation Oct. 9 - 10.

  • SFU also sent out a news release on how a $100,000 grant from the BC Ministry of Advanced Education is enabling SFU to lead the way nationally in implementing a comprehensive university-wide plan for First Nations education. Several universities are looking to SFU for a template for similar plans.
    And SFU told media about the event Wednesday in which the Segal Graduate School of Business hosted a UN panel on responsible investment. It met for the first time outside New York or Geneva.
  • Meanwhile, the University President's Council of BC issued a news release on the signing by the presidents of a Climate Change Statement of Action, committing their institutions to a leadership role in reducing greenhouse gases.
    It commits SFU, UBC, UVic and UNBC to create planning bodies that include students, staff, researchers, administrators and others. Within one year, each institution will have a complete inventory of greenhouse gas emissions on campus and within two years, targets will be set and strategies in place to achieve the targets.

SFU’s news releases can be found online at: Its newsletter, SFU News, is also online, at


ALSO in the NEWS

  • The Province and the Nanaimo Daily News carried features on the pluses and minuses of Daylight Savings Time. Both noted that “a Simon Fraser University study found on the first Mondays after the spring and fall time changes, the stock markets recorded unusually high losses, determining returns are four times more negative than other times.”

  • The Abbotsford News covered the sixth annual Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards. Winner of the Champion of Diversity award was Linea Battel, director of the Xa:ytem educational and interpretive centre in Mission. “She is now working on a project with SFU's department of archeology to develop a virtual museum.” The Mission City Record picked up the story.

  • The Langley Advance featured local teacher John Harris, one of 20 BC educators to receive the Premier's Award for Teaching Excellence. He studied education at SFU, the Advance noted.  The Tri-City News featured another winner, Peter Vogel of Port Coquitlam, a Vancouver teacher who created the annual Physics Balsa Bridge Building contest, with some help from SFU's School of Engineering Science.

  • The Penticton Herald reported on a campaign by a citizens’ group to save the Penticton Secondary School auditorium and north gym from the wrecking ball. The paper noted that group leaders include Michael Brydon, assistant prof in SFU Business.

  • The Dominion Post in Wellington NZ carried a letter to the editor from Edward Ingram, professor emeritus of history. “A small, poor, far away country like ours should try to hide. The Pacific Islands states are neither our neighbours nor our responsibility. . . . Colonialist foreign affairs, and two foreign ministers, are luxuries we should try to forgo.
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