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SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - April 11, 2008

April 11, 2008

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A look at how SFU and its people were covered in the news media: April 3-11, 2008             

BC NEWS

  • Vice-president Pat Hibbitts was in The Vancouver Sun, in a story saying SFU is considering ending the practice of not charging seniors tuition fees for full-credit courses. It was one of several measures Hibbitts said the SFU board is considering, to cope with the unexpected $6.3-million shortfall in provincial government funding for the 2008-09 fiscal year.
  • The Vancouver Sun—and a bevy of radio stationscarried a story on SFU’s plans to create a new environment faculty. The proposal was endorsed Monday night by the SFU senate, and will now go to the board of governors for final approval. (See also SFU Releases, below.)

  • The Vancouver Sun carried a special section on "the civil society"—and how we could become one. The newspaper had seven eminent guest editors for the occasion, one of them being Milton Wong, philanthropist and SFU chancellor emeritus.
    Wrote Wong: “I believe intuitively that the notion of a civil society hinges on a finely balanced state of interdependency among all living organisms, such that each is free to optimize its full potential without significantly infringing on another's ability to do the same. . . . Clearly, we're not there yet.”
    The Sun special is at http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/features/civilsociety/index.html
  • Later, resource economist Mark Jaccard wrote a guest column in The Vancouver Sun: “To develop a civil society capable of dealing with the daunting challenge of the climate risk, our politicians must not play politics with the future of the planet.”  The Edmonton Journal then ran it as well.
  • The Criminology tag-team of Ehor Boyanowsky and Neil Boyd was in demand from media after the murder of three children in Merritt this week. Both were on GlobalTV on the same Six O’clock News—Boyanowski followed by Boyd. And Boyd was in The Province as well.
  • And then Boyanowski went on air on Calgary’s CHQR Radio  to talk about a poll that found more than half of people in Atlantic Canada, BC and Alberta believe Canadians are an angrier lot than they were last year. Boyanowski also talked to The Vancouver Sun and the Almanac show on CBC Radio.
  • CKWX News1130 and the Georgia Straight interviewed researcher Michelle Patterson of Health Sciences and the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health & Addiction (CARMHA). This on the official results this week of the Lower Mainland's homeless count.
  • Black Press uncovered a staff report warning TransLink's new board that making all decisions behind closed doors could damage its reputation. But any information generally deemed to be "harmful to TransLink" is to be kept confidential. “It's ludicrous—there's no other way to describe it," said SFU political scientist Patrick Smith. "It fails the democratic test."
  • Meanwhile, Gordon Price, director of the City Program at SFU, was in the North Shore News in a story noting North Shore commuters have gradually been giving up their cars in favour of the bus. “The trend in the region as a whole is really encouraging.”
  • Patrick Smith was also in the New Westminster Newsleader in a story that looked at the reputation, and branding, of Burnaby as a city. Smith (a Burnaby Heights resident) said: "Burnaby is looked on as a place of pretty mature thought and sophistication. It's not seen as a place with a lot of night life, but pretty good neighbourhoods."
    And Smith was also in The Vancouver Sun, in a story about John Les, former solicitor-general, and his relationships with developers in Chilliwack, where he was mayor. Said Smith: "The fact there is so much intersect—and there is such a close relationship—between those broadly in the property business and municipal politicians is problematic.”
  • The Vancouver Sun featured a study found 79 per cent of people say they enjoy living in the Commercial Drive area, even though 44 per cent have been victims of property crime. "’The diversity is what people like about it; what they don't like is major public disorder,’ said SFU criminologist Patricia Brantingham, who helped conduct the study.
  • The Vancouver Sun also looked at neighbourhood opposition to social housing sites, and wondered whether the neighbours’ fears have merit. “SFU prof Julian Somers reviewed multiple research papers that studied the effect of social housing on crime rates and property values and concluded there was no effect."  (Somers is an associate prof in SFU Health Sciences, and director of the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health & Addictions.)
  • The Victoria Times Colonist looked at things people here can do to improve the lives of people in the Third World. One suggestion: Buy fair-trade coffee. Political scientist Anil Hira told the paper: "Fair trade can raise the income of enough farmers that their kids can get enough education to move on to something else."

NATIONAL and INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • The Globe and Mail, and the Financial Post section of National Post, carried a story on a report recommending a national carbon tax. Co-author is SFU economist Nancy Olewiler, director of the Public Policy program. "What if the U.S. decides that they're going to want to take action and that involves restricting imports from Canada because we don't have a comparable policy?" asked Olewiler. "The federal government has to be prepared. We weren't prepared for Kyoto." CanWest News Service sent the story to media across Canada.
  • China’s government-run website, china.org.cn, carried a story quoting Zhao Yuezhi, associate prof in SFU Communication, on western media coverage of Tibet. The story came from the official Chinese news agency, Xinhua. “Ms. Zhao said that the coverage of the riots in Tibet in the western media has been a shock and a revelation to the Chinese audience, who have learnt an important lesson regarding the deceptive and ambiguous claim of news objectivity.”
  • The Financial Post also ran a story headlined “Sixty and starting over: Rise in grey divorce as Boomers call it quits.” Among those quoted was Barbara Mitchell, associate prof of sociology and gerontology: “If you're not in a happy relationship, a lot of older people are saying 'Why would I want to spend the last 20 or 30 years with someone I'm not happy with?”
  • Also in National Post, a “Counterpoint” article from Jon Kesselman, Canada Research Chair in Public Finance and a public policy prof. It countered an earlier article that had challenged Kesselman’s study on family income splitting for tax purposes, conducted for the Institute for Research on Public Policy.
  • The Canadian Press quoted marketing prof Lindsay Meredith in a story on the release of internal documents from the Canadian Border Services Agency on the death of Robert Dziekanski, who was Tasered by RCMP at Vancouver International Airport last Oct. 14. Meredith said the documents show how not to handle a public-relations crisis: “You don't duck and bob and weave because all you're doing is making everyone suspicious as to what you're up to. This happened last October 2007. Here it is April 2008. We're still trying to bury the carcass on this story. Bad idea.”
  • Vancouver Sun columnist Barbara Yaffe wrote that “Canada's ‘true north strong and free’ may not be as strong or free as those singing the national anthem believe it to be. In fact, some of that great northern expanse may not even be Canada's.” She quoted visiting prof Jayantha Dhanapala, who was helping organize a Vancouver conference on security in the polar region.
  • Some more CanWest papers picked up a column from last week’s Vancouver Sun by Yaffe, on “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.
  • And the Windsor Star reproduced an earlier Yaffe column on the Canada-U.S. Security and Prosperity Partnership, 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.

 

THE SCIENCES

  • Geographer Lance Lesack earned a big story (two-thirds of a page) in the Globe and Mail—and coverage on CBC News. This on a study he co-authored, indicating that rising water levels induced by global-warming in the Mackenzie Delta are three times more severe than predicted.
    “This is not something that's just of pertinence to the Mackenzie Delta,” he told the Globe. “I think what this work indicates is that receding sea ice is going to have a huge effect around the entire circumpolar region.”
    And he told CBC in a radio interview: “I was shocked, actually. I had no idea that the water level regime would actually change that much. . . . All around, the entire Arctic is going to be a very different place than it is right now."
    Lesack also spoke with NWT News/North, which feeds seven northern newspapers.
  • CanWest News Service reported that 14,000-thousand-year-old feces from caves in Oregon is being held up as the oldest evidence of human's presence in North America. “An international team says DNA recovered from an ancient latrine pushes back the peopling of America by more than 1,000 years. It also bolsters the theory that the first humans to reach North America travelled down the B.C. coast while glaciers blanketed the rest of Canada.”
    SFU archaeologist Jonathan Driver, dean of graduate studies, said: “I think this probably nails it down.” He said DNA in the feces, combined with other telltale signs, suggests hunters and gatherers were south of ice sheets "maybe as early as 16,000 years ago." 
    The story appeared in a string of papers across Canada, including the Victoria Times Colonist, The Vancouver Sun, Edmonton Journal, Calgary Herald, Regina Leader-Post, Windsor Star and Montreal Gazette.

  • That electricity-generating “knee brace” gadget from kinesiologist Max Donelan and team continued to draw media interest. Visiting the team’s lab on the Burnaby campus were the  Daily Planet show from Discovery Channel and France 2. The Planet Green show from Discovery Channel U.S. and Korean PBS also set up visits. The story continues to get hits on blogs around the world, too.
  • Vice-president Warren Gill, wearing his transportation-geographer’s robes, spoke with The Province and GlobalTV on the demise of Oasis, the Hong Kong-based budget airline that until this week served Vancouver and London.
  • Science Online carried a story on the latest experiments with high-temperature superconductors. Jeff Sonier of SFU reported to the  American Physical Society, meeting in New Orleans, that superconductivity might persist in some materials to temperatures of at least 200 K (-73 C)—albeit in tiny, disconnected patches.
  • The Tri-City News turned an SFU news release of last week into a story on how two SFU neuroscientists have made a major breakthrough in human brain-function research, one that opens the door to discovering brain activity as it is happening. The two are John McDonald, associate professor and Canada Research Chair in cognitive neuroscience, and PhD student Jessica Green.
  • The Campbell River Courier-Islander picked up a story on a scientific paper reporting infestations 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.

ARTS and ENTERTAINMENT

  • The Georgia Straight carried an item on SFU’s Distinguished Community Leadership Award going to Michael Audain, chair of Polygon Homes Ltd. Audain is one of the province's most generous philanthropists, having given away millions to support the arts.
  • Media across Canada ran an item from The Canadian Press reporting that Robin Blaser, SFU prof emeritus and “one of North America's most outstanding poets of the postwar period” is in the running for the $50,000 Griffin Poetry Prize. Blaser made the Canadian short list for The Holy Forest: Collected Poems of Robin Blaser. The winners will be announced June 4.
  • The Vancouver Sun featured hip-hop artist Shad (a.k.a. Shadrach Kabango) a masters student in literature and philosophy at SFU. Nominated for a Juno, he didn’t win—but no matter. Said the Sun: “Though Shad fantasizes in one of his songs about winning a Juno, he would never compromise his artistic values for the opportunity to cradle the hardware.”  The London (ON) Free Press in Shad’s Canadian hometown also carried a story.

 

ATHLETICS

  • SFU Athletics spread the word on Clan basketball senior Lani Gibbons—now a finalist for the big BLG award from Canadian Interuniversity Sport. Gibbons was the 2008 CIS women’s basketball player of the year. She will find out April 28 if she will also be named top female athlete, and win a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship from Borden Ladner Gervais.
  • Athletics also filled in media on how the Clan women’s volleyball team added three more recruits, and the track and field program signed an 800m and cross-country specialist.

 

SFU RELEASES

  • SFU sent out a news release saying the creation of a new SFU Faculty of the Environment is one step closer, after receiving support from SFU's Senate on April 7. The release also covered the Senate votes in favour of a new faculty for Communication, Contemporary Arts and Design, a revamped structure for the Faculty of Applied Sciences, focusing on engineering and computing science; and relocation of the School of Kinesiology from the Faculty of Applied Science to the Faculty of Science. If approved by the Board of Governors, the moves would come into effect in April 2009.
  • And SFU told media about a new study co-authored by SFU students Adrienne Wasik (doctoral candidate) and Karen-Marie Woods (master’s candidate) that says several barriers are preventing potentially employable people with disabilities in BC from working.

 

SFU’s news releases can be found online at: http://www.sfu.ca/pamr/media_releases/.
Its newsletter, SFU News, is also online, at http://www.sfu.ca/sfunews/

 

ALSO in the NEWS

    • Burnaby Now covered last Friday’s event at UniverCity in which Burquitlam MLA Harry Bloy announced that an elementary school will open there in September 2010. The school will be housed in the converted SFU East Academic Annex. The New Westminster Newsleader and 24Hours also carried stories.
    • Burnaby Now also reported that plans for 102 residential units, retail and office space and a child-care centre for 50 children at UniverCity are on hold. A City of Burnaby staff report to council said: “The SFU Community Trust has determined that this development is not economically feasible at this time." Instead, it added, the trust wants to build a temporary child-care facility for 50 children aged three to five, along with a temporary parking lot.
    • Also in Burnaby Now, a story on the Human Rights Torch Relay that comes to Burnaby and Vancouver on May 25, part of an international tour of 150 cities. It’s to protest alleged human rights abuses in China. Quoted was Clement Apaak, SFU student (and board of governors member). He said the relay also seeks to highlight China's support of "rogue regimes" in other countries such as Darfur.
    • The Washington Post featured Linda C. Crompton, president and chief executive of  BoardSource, a U.S. non-profit that strengthens non-profit boards of directors through consulting, training, publications and membership programs. The Post noted she got her BA (political science) from SFU.
    • The Fredericton Gleaner reported that Hana Kucera, doctoral biology student at the University of New Brunswick, was one of three people in Canada to win a 2008 Graduate Student Award of Merit from the Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada. She set up a partnership program with a national campaign called Let's Talk Science. Kucera was a student volunteer in the program while studying for her undergraduate degree at SFU.
    • The Vancouver Sun featured the entry into the Metro development market of Emaar Properties, builder of world's tallest structure (the 160-storey-and-growing Burj Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates). Emaar's Canadian director is Robert Booth, who attended SFU.
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