SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - April 3, 2008

April 3, 2008

Document Tools

Print This Article

E-mail This Page

Font Size
S      M      L      XL

Related Links

A look at how SFU and its people were covered in the news media: March 28-April 3, 2008             


  • The Associated Press reported from Beijing that “young Chinese abroad have launched a wave of attacks accusing Western media of bias in reporting on unrest in Tibet, and defending Beijing's crackdown.”
    Among those quoted was Chris Yao, an SFU engineering student. He administers a Facebook group called “Tibet WAS, IS, and ALWAYS WILL BE a part of China.” (Yao, 22, has lived in the U.S. and Canada since age 10 but says his loyalties lie with China. He plans to return there after graduation.)
    We spotted the story first in the Taipei Times and the French edition of the International Herald Tribune.
  • CanWest News Service sent to media outlets across Canada a feature on marketing to baby-boomers and older Canadians.  Gerontologist Gloria Gutman was quoted: “The older person of today is evolving. When you look at Mick Jagger or Tina Turner, those are people that are seniors if you go by the chronological age, but they sure are not like Whistler's Mother. Seniors come in all shapes and sizes, and the 65-year-old of today is like the 55-year-old of a decade ago.'' Our monitor saw the story in a dozen newspapers.
  • The Montreal Gazette reported on the “public relations storm” whipped up by Bell Canada’s decision to limit Internet speeds for people using file-sharing programs, and for re-sellers of its web access. Among the leaders of the storm is Steve Anderson, a masters student at SFU and co-ordinator of Campaign for Democratic Media, an association of lobby groups.
  • Criminologist Neil Boyd was quoted in Globe and Mail, GlobalTV and Vancouver Sun stories on the killing of a pedophile during a riot at the Mountain Institution (Agassiz). "Historically, victims in riots are sex offenders and informants. . . . But it could also be that he [Michael Andrew Gibbon] was targeted for other reasons because Mountain is full of sex offenders.”

  • Boyd was also quoted on a law enforcement website,, in an article on how cellphone cameras and YouTube have put police under a new form of surveillance. Said Boyd: "We have to ask ourselves: what unusual circumstances involving police will be watched by a million people? Will they be positive displays of police conduct? Not likely. So there's a natural skew there."

  • Jayantha Dhanapala, Simons Visiting Chair in International Law and Human Security, was in Asian Pacific Post, in a story about how 11 Asian nations are the objects of travel warnings issued by Canada's foreign affairs and international trade departments.

  • And Eva Derton, chemistry department technician, had a letter to the editor in National Post: “Why would anyone assume that ‘natural’ means non-toxic and harmless? Need I remind you that tobacco is a natural product—so are poisonous mushrooms and snake venom. Pure synthetic medicines may actually be safer than naturally derived mixtures, because they are well tested and it is easier to control their dosage.”


  • Vancouver Sun columnist Miro Cernetig wrote about research, into municipal election funding, by political scientist Patrick Smith and grad students Denisa Gavan-Koop and Stephanie Vieille. “What they have found so far, outlined in the appropriately titled research paper Terra Incognita? should set off alarm bells. . . . What it shows is that we've got a disturbing lack of transparency at the municipal level of government in this province.”
  • Cernetig also wrote a column that included the suggestion of Michael Geller, former head of of the UniverCity development, that the doomed hollow tree in Stanley Park be turned into public art.   “When SFU was built, workers had to cut down a maple tree and a cedar. But instead of turning them into sawdust, the university decided to invite artists to come and take a piece of the tree and create a pieces of art. There's even a book about the pieces that were produced and later sold to collectors.”
    (Geller also did a half-hour spot on CBC Radio’s noon call-in Almanac show re: his experience of travelling the world harvesting good city planning ideas.)
  • The Vancouver Sun looked at how the BC Utilities Commission has had its role expanded, to take social and environmental issues into account. Reported the Sun: “Simon Fraser University energy economist Mark Jaccard, a chair of the BCUC in the mid-1990s, applauded the changes.”
  • Vancouver Sun columnist Barbara Yaffe wrote about the Canada-U.S. Security and Prosperity Partnership, launched in 2005, and the views of SFU political scientist Alexander Moens. He has done a study of the SPP for the Fraser Institute, and says the SPP is so misunderstood it should be relaunched and rebranded.
  • Yaffe also wrote a column about “one of the most thought-provoking books to cross my desk in a long while.” That is Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight without Oil, co-authored by Anthony Perl, director of SFU's urban studies program.
  • Meanwhile, Perl told CKWX News1130 that transportation planning for retiring seniors has been lacking in BC. "If people in government are sensitive to the electorate, as I think they are, they're going to start sending signals to transportation planners and designers that we can't leave these people out of our future plans."
  • And Gordon Price, director of the SFU City Program, was in a Vancouver Sun story that noted residents of the Vancouver area are using more public transit and driving less to get to work, according to the 2006 census.
  • The Province quoted political scientist Kennedy Stewart on this week’s pay raise for MPs. (Their base salary now is $155,400, plus a $22,000 yearly expense allowance and 64 return flights to their ridings.) "It is a lot of money," said Stewart, “(but) what would CEOs of big companies make? You have to pay to keep good people. It's a pretty gruelling job."
  • Stewart was also quoted in a story on on Vancouver’s mayoralty race. “This is a completely different race from anything we've seen before in Vancouver. What's happening within both Vision and the NPA shows a maturing of the political process here in this city."
  • The Abbotsford News ran an editorial criticizing the BC government’s cutbacks in SFU and other post-secondary education budgets. “This is not the sort of announcement one expects during the so-called ‘golden decade’ that Premier Gordon Campbell likes to prattle about.”
  • The BC Almanac Show on CBC Radio broadcast live last Friday from SFU's Wosk Centre for Dialogue, with host Mark Forsythe moderating Imagine BC’s fourth annual public dialogue. The subject: Health and Community. Joanna Ashworth of SFU Dialogue Programs was among those interviewed. Imagine BC is a five-year futures project convened by Dialogue Programs.
  • The Surrey North Delta Leader and Peace Arch News carried a column saying that “SFU and Surrey have been a good fit.” It praised as “a step in the right direction” Surrey’s plan to move its city hall to the Central City area where SFU’s Surrey campus is located.
  • The Leader also gave a big promotional push for the Psych in the City series being held at the Surrey campus. Quoted were sports psychologist David Cox (the first speaker, April 9) and Dan Weeks, psychology chair. (Details:
  • The Leader also ran a big feature on prostitution. Among those quoted: criminologist John Lowman, who says 15 to 20 per cent of johns are looking for affection. "What really drives them to buy prostitution-related services is the need to be touched, to have friendly contact with someone.”
  • In a guest column in the Trail Daily Times, Habiba Zaman, associate prof of women's studies, cites a report she co-wrote on workplace experiences of recent Filipino immigrants to BC. “We surveyed and interviewed 130 immigrants. Their responses indicate that, increasingly, they find themselves stuck in a low-wage job cycle, unable to find secure, well-paying work that reflects their professional qualifications and education.”


  • The Vancouver Sun carried a hefty feature titled “An era of influence: 100 Indo-Canadians who are making a difference in British Columbia.”

Among them were:

    • Mario Pinto, vice-president of research at SFU and a co-founder of the Centre for Drug Research and Development. “Pinto is a pioneer in the field of chemical biology, and has won numerous awards for his work, including research aimed at finding the next generation of vaccines.”
    • Peter Dhillon, a new member of the SFU board of governors. He’s CEO of the Richberry Group of Companies, and holds directorships or executive positions with several organizations.
    • Kash Heed, West Vancouver police chief. He began his career with the Vancouver police department in 1979, achieving the rank of superintendent while completing his BA and MA at SFU.
    • Amin Lalji, principal of the Larco Group, which, among other things, owns the Park Royal Shopping Centre and Whistler Village Centre. His family donated $1 million to SFU’s Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Culture.
    • Ujjal Dosanjh, former BC attorney-general and then BC premier and federal health minister. He earned from SFU an honours degree in political science, then went on to UBC to complete his law degree.
    • Fazil Mihlar, editorial page editor of The Vancouver Sun. He has attended SFU, Carleton and Harvard, and has authored several studies examining the effects of regulation on trade.
    • Farhan Lalji, who has covered some of the biggest sporting events in North America during his 11-year tenure as a sports reporter with TSN. He started his journalism career as SFU's sports information director.
    • Basketball great Pasha Bains, who played for Clan teams in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons. He was the leading scorer in Canadian Interuniversity Sport both seasons and was named the CIS player of the year in 2003-04.
    • Nadia Chaney, noted hip-hop artist, poet rapper and emcee. “She is also a public intellectual, engaging in scholarly discussions around the province, including with Simon Fraser University's Wosk Centre for Dialogue.”


  • The Vancouver Sun carried a big feature on SFU’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team. Quoted or named in it were Richard Lipsey, professor emeritus of economics and a former senior economic advisor with the C.D. Howe Institute; economist Nancy Olewiler, director of the university's public policy program; and Deborah Harford, ACT program director. Noted the Sun: “ACT is planning eight conferences over the next three years on issues around coping with climate change.” The first conference (long sold out) was earlier this week.
  • The Toronto Star and The Vancouver Sun carried a feature on salmon farming. SFU’s John Reynolds was quoted: “Reynolds was adamant that fish farming is also contributing to the problems. ‘Peer-reviewed scientific studies,’ he said, ‘clearly show that wild salmon stocks are damaged by nearby farms’.”
  • Meanwhile, the North American Journal of Fisheries Management published online a paper reporting that infestations of sea lice have spread to juvenile pink, chum, and sockeye salmon as well as juvenile herring near Campbell River fish farms. One of the authors is SFU’s Rick Routledge, a fish-population statistician. He says: “This is the same pattern we see in the Broughton Archipelago. Where there are farm fish the young wild salmon are infested with lice. Remove the farm fish and the sea lice problem disappears.” The Prince Rupert Daily News was first to do a story.
  • The Province and the Whistler Pique reported on a study that proposes an early-warning system to protect the people of Pemberton and the Lillooet River Valley from landslides. It says a massive slide could kill “hundreds or possibly thousands” of people. "We don't want to panic people," said study co-author John Clague, chair of the SFU Centre for Natural Hazard Research. "But the risk is enough that something should be done."



  • The Victoria Times Colonist carried an editorial lauding the recommendations of an SFU study on the homeless. “It might be that tougher policing methods are required to roll back crime in our urban core. But before we begin carting addicts off to jail, we need a better option. The Simon Fraser scheme would give us a moral high ground we now lack in this battle.”
  • Meanwhile, the Victoria News ran its own editorial calling for “bold decisions” to tackle the problem of homelessness. “We’re not surprised at the findings of a Simon Fraser University study, showing the province could save an estimated $18,000 per person per year by housing homeless individuals with addiction or mental health problems.” The editorial also ran in the Nanaimo News Bulletin, Saanich News, Oak Bay News, Peninsula News Review and Goldstream News Gazette.
  • The Oak Bay News and the Goldstream News Gazette ran a related story on the homelessness issue. It quoted Michelle Patterson, SFU Health Sciences researcher and psychologist: "Most people require a year or two of intensive support and then once they are employed, their health is back on track, they have integrated into the community and developed a support network, then they are able to support themselves and they won't need the same level of support.”
  • Last week’s Canadian Press feature on the report turned up in the Nelson Daily News. And the study was also mentioned in a letter to the editor in the Edmonton Journal.



  • Literature prof Carole Gerson went live on the Early Edition show on CBC Radio to talk about the 100th anniversary this week of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. Gerson herself is co-author of The History of the Book in Canada, Volume III.
  • Music prof and composer Owen Underhill of SFU Contemporary Arts was interviewed by CBC Radio and CFUN Radio re: the demise of North America's last remaining radio orchestra. Owen conducted the CBC Symphony Orchestra several times and his original work was twice performed by it.
  • Jacqueline Levitin, associate prof, SFU Contemporary Arts/Women’s Studies, did a half-hour interview with CBC French Radio on her film Mahjong & Chicken Feet. That followed an interview with Rogers which was broadcast last weekend.
  • The Province, GlobalTV and the Epoch Times covered the ceremony March 28 at which BC’s economic development minister, Colin Hansen, handed out cheques totalling $13.3 million to SFU for the move downtown in 2009 of SFU Contemporary Arts. Warren Gill, vice-president of university relations, was quoted as saying the university still needs $11 million to completely fund the $71.5-million project.
  • Hip-hopper Shad (real name: Shadrach Kabango) won the urban category at the Jack Richardson music awards in London ON. The London Free Press noted the SFU student could top that with a Juno. The Kenya-born, London-raised artist has his first Juno nomination for rap recording of the year for The Old Prince. Shad is working on his master's in liberal studies at SFU.
  • The Globe and Mail featured the “provocative video installation” at the SFU Gallery that offers “a different take” on Michelangelo’s famed statue David. The exhibit The Birthday Boy, by American artist Robert Morris, is on through May 3. (Details:
  • The London (ON) Free Press featured concert pianist Yaroslav (Slava) Senyshyn—and his susceptibility to stage fright. Senyshyn, prof of music and philosophy at SFU, is on sabbatical in London.  The Free Press called him “one of Canada's finest pianists”.
  • Asian Pacific Post and South Asian Post reported that Vancouver-based artist and curator Cindy Mochizuki will lead a team to preserve Japanese-Canadian heritage and history using modern technology. She has a masters from SFU Contemporary Arts.
  • The Vancouver Sun’s book pages featured Vancouver poet Jen Currin’s new book of poems, Hagiography. She has a bachelor's and a master's degree from U.S. universities, and plans to do a second master's at SFU, the Sun noted.  Also in the paper, Vancouver Sun columnist Daphne Bramham’s new book (The Secret Lives of Saints: Child Brides And Lost Boys In Canada's Polygamous Mormon Sect) was reviewed by Don Grayston, who taught religious studies at SFU from 1989 to 2004.
  • The Peace Arch News featured local resident Gina McMurchy-Barber and her young-readers novel, Reading The Bones. She majored in archaeology at SFU, and studied orangutans in the jungles of Borneo with SFU prof Birute Galdikas.



  • Burnaby Now carried a story on SFU’s plan to double First Nations enrolment. Quoted were president Michael Stevenson and Lisa Sterling, special advisor and director of aboriginal affairs at SFU.
  • The New Westminster Record and The Vancouver Sun reported the selection by the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC of SFU resource economist Mark Jaccard as Academic of The Year.
  • The Kamloops Daily News looked at a new long-range plan of the Kamloops-Thompson School District, which faces declining enrolment and reduced government funding. The plan is based on a report by Robin Brayne of the Education faculty.



  • The Kelowna Capital News reported local soccer player Ben Pisch is transferring from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas to SFU in fall. “This is probably the best opportunity that has ever opened up for me,” said Pisch, who started every game in his two years at UNLV.
  • The Province and the Victoria Times Colonist featured Kristina Macdonald, former SFU rower and a 2012 Olympic hopeful. She first got into the sport through a learn-to-row course at SFU in 2002.



  • SFU told media about a study co-authored by geographer Lance Lesack indicating that rising water levels induced by global-warming in the Mackenzie Delta are three times more severe than predicted. Lesack notes: “What is happening in the Mackenzie Delta is of world importance. It is a harbinger of what is likely happening in other circumpolar arctic deltas, where little is known about the impact of global warming.”
  • We also sent out a release on how two SFU neuroscientists have made a major breakthrough in human brain-function research. John McDonald, associate prof and Canada Research Chair, and PhD student Jessica Green can pinpoint in space and time the neural activities involved in paying attention. It offers a promising new way to investigate disorders, including autism, dementia, depression and anxiety.

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


ALSO in the NEWS

  • The Ottawa Citizen featured Kevin Page, who started his job this week as Canada's first budget officer. A career civil servant, he studied economics at SFU.
  • The Richmond News reported the appointment of Sukhvinder Singh Badh of Richmond to the board of the national Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security. He is chair of the Richmond Hospital Foundation, sits on the City of Richmond's Environment Advisory Council, and is a sessional instructor with SFU Economics.
  • Surrey Now featured Ruth Derksen Siemens, who came across letters from Soviet Gulags that told the stories of imprisoned Russian Mennonite families. She was an SFU English instructor at the time. She now has published a book, Remember Us: Letters from Stalin's Gulag.



  • This report on SFU in the News will soon take a vacation break. The last edition before the break will be on Thursday April 17, and then the next issue will be Friday May 16.
Search SFU News Online