SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - July 11, 2008

July 11, 2008

A look at how SFU and its people made news: July 5-11, 2008                

News hit of the week was a media flurry around the new International Cybercrime Research Centre at the Surrey campus.
Iain Black, BC's labour and citizens' services minister, announced at SFU Surrey on July 8 $350,000 in funding for the centre.
Rob Gordon, director of the school of criminology, did a long string of radio, TV and newspaper interviews that ran across Canada.
Mario Pinto, vice-president of research, was also on the air from Vancouver to Toronto.


  • The news on the cybercrime centre ran across the country, in all forms of media, from Nanaimo to New Brunswick and from Trail to Truro.
    Criminologist Rob Gordon was on numerous radio and TV stations and in newspapers.
    For example, he was in a national Canadian Press story saying child pornography will be the centre's first target with a type of "good virus" that scours systems with the tenacity of a chomping Pac-Man character.
    "In the same way that a bad virus works by infecting machines, by hunting for certain symbols, so a good virus can operate in much the same way, like Pac-Man, actually starting to destroy particular forms of imagery on the Internet."
    Closer to home, the Surrey-North Delta Leader had a photo of Gordon at the Surrey campus, and quoted him as saying:
    "This is a highly significant event. There are only a couple of centres like this in North America. None of them, however, have the kind of support we’ve acquired. . . . There is no university in North America I’m aware of that has a dedicated cybercrimes studies program. We hope and think it will be attractive to people internationally, who are already pulled to us because of our reputation as a school of criminology."
    Meanwhile, Mario Pinto, vice-president of research, was on CKWX, the all-news radio station in the Lower Mainland, and its sister stations from Vancouver to Toronto.
    The centre's director is Bill Glackman, associate professor in SFU Criminology and director of the SFU Criminology Research Centre.
    At a news conference at the Surrey campus, minister Black announced $250,000 in funding to SFU Criminology and $100,000 to POLCYB to help it operate the centre. POLCYB is a B.C.-based not-for-profit society that draws on an international community of experts to prevent and combat crimes in cyberspace.
    The "newser" at SFU Surrey attracted GlobalTV, CTV, The Canadian Press, The Province, and, from the Chinese-Canadian market, Ming Pao, Sing Tao, World Journal and the Epoch Times.
    The BC government sent out a news release (Gordon was quoted) and sent an invitation to media to attend the news conference.


  • Criminology director Rob Gordon was also in The Vancouver Sun in a story on inter-police rivalry and animosity, as portrayed in a wrongful-dismissal suit.
    Gordon said if it's true that key Hells Angels members escaped justice because of police infighting, the BC government needs to take a hard look at how B.C. is policed.
    "It's outrageous, and no professional police service anywhere else on the face of the earth would tolerate it. . . .There has to be a reason why organized crime has been so effective in taking root in this province. I think it's sheer incompetence caused by [police] infighting and territoriality."
  • The Vancouver Sun picked up from the Prince Rupert Daily News a story on how sea lice are surprisingly acrobatic and can leap from juvenile salmon to larger fish that prey on them. Brendan Connors, an SFU behavioral ecologist who led the research team, said: "It's absolutely amazing. They literally do a backflip off the fish they were on and land right between the eyes of the predator." The Victoria Times Colonist, CHEK-TV in Victoria and GlobalTV also ran the story. So did the Campbell River Courier-Islander.
  • Tranportation geographer Warren Gill (vice-president of University Relations) was on GlobalTV talking about traffic and transportation systems. This related to the recent six-hour closure of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge as police negotiated with a distraught woman who was threatening to jump.


  • SFU forensic scientist Gail Anderson was in the news again this week as police and the coroner’s office announced that two of the five “floating feet” found on BC shorelines belonged to the same man.
    Anderson was on GlobalTV talking at length about her research and showing details of her experimental study of what happened to a pig’s carcass sunk deep in Saanich Inlet. She was also on CBC-TV’s national news.
    And she was quoted in a story sent around the world by the Agence France Presse news agency. (The AFP story was quickly picked up by 10 Australian newspapers and news websites.)
  • Rob Gordon was on CBC-TV’s national news in a story about two Toronto cops accused of being part of a large-scale marijuana operation. Said Gordon (a former police officer himself): “The big concern here should be the apparent scale of this activity. It's much larger, much more organized than anything that we've seen before, and that's bound to have some very negative ramifications for the Police Service in Toronto.”
  • The Ottawa Citizen reported that Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week signed an agreement linking MITACS, a national network of mathematicians, to INRIA, the French national institute for research in computer science and control. Arvind Gupta, CEO and scientific director of MITACS, was quoted. MITACS is based at SFU Burnaby. The Toronto Business Times also ran the story.
    Meanwhile, the Vancouver Courier reported that Daniel Fontaine, chief of staff to departing Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan, will become vice-president of communications and marketing for MITACS in August.
    Gupta was also in a Burnaby Now story on ACCELERATE BC, a provincial program that has placed 140 students in research internships across the province—and has more placements in the works.  MITACS manages the program.
    The Toronto Business Times also picked up last week’s Ontario government announcement that up to 1,750 new research internship opportunities are expected to be created in Ontario over the next four years. That internship program is being administered by MITACS.
  • Criminologist John Lowman was quoted as Maclean’s magazine and followed up last week’s story of how Kwantlen Polytechnic University nixed sociologist Russel Ogden’s research into assisted suicides. Lowman said that the blocking of Ogden’s work is “a flagrant violation of academic freedom.”
  • The Edmonton Journal picked up a Washington Post story from last week on the fast-shrinking population of sharks in the Mediterranean. The story also mentioned research by SFU biologist Nick Dulvy, finding that in the open ocean sharks that used to be an inadvertent bycatch for vessels seeking tuna and swordfish are increasingly being targeted for their meat and fins.


  • A new study suggests that as sea temperatures rise, many fish may be settling into deeper, cooler waters, rather than moving to higher latitudes as many theorists had previously predicted. The finding is from researchers led by SFU’s Dulvy, through the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture in the UK. Their report ran in the Journal of Applied Ecology and there was a story on
  • The German magazine VDE Dialog featured the electricity-generating “knee brace” device developed by SFU kinesiologist Max Donelan and team. It used a photo by Greg Ehlers of LIDC.
  • The Institute for War and Peace Reporting reported on a Bosnian conference on documenting war deaths and war crimes. Among those quoted was Andrew Mack, director of the Human Security Report project at SFU.


  • Black Press new service did a story on a group of BC university professors who are defending B.C.'s new carbon tax. Quoted were SFU’s Mark Jaccard, John Richards and Nancy Olewiler. It appeared in 11 BC newspapers.
  • Black Press then distributed a Tom Fletcher column that quoted Jaccard as saying nearly 70 per cent of BC's carbon tax will be paid by industry, while individuals (especially low-income individuals) will get two thirds of the corresponding tax cuts. This column also quoted Olewiler. And it appeared in a dozen community papers in BC.
  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader did its own carbon-tax story. The tax is initially set at 2.34 cents a litre of gasoline—meaning roughly $10 per tonne of released carbon dioxide. It is to rise to $30 per tonne under the current plan. But the Leader quoted Jaccard as saying the tax may need to reach $180 per tonne of emitted carbon dioxide if it is to change people's behaviour.
  • The Burnaby Newsleader also picked up last week’s guest column by Jaccard in The Vancouver Sun. After researching the Danish model the NDP cites, Jaccard concluded: “A shift to the NDP-Danish ‘carbon tax at source’ will lead to higher taxes and less money in their pockets for typical middle- and low-income families in B.C. . . . One wonders if the NDP should change its motto from ‘axe the tax’ to ‘tax to the max.’


  • The Vancouver Sun ran an SFU news release on how the SFU Senate decided Monday to ease the requirement of four provincial Grade 12 exams for admission to the university.
    Beginning in fall 2009, students will need to have a high-school graduation certificate and to have passed only one provincial Grade 12 exam: English 12 (or Language Arts 12, or the new English 12 First Peoples that comes into effect in September). The same move was previously approved by the University of Victoria (last December) and the University of B.C. (in May).
    CKNW and GlobalTV also carried the story. The Province did a story that CanWest News Service sent to CanWest media across the country. RED-fm, a radio station serving the Indo-Canadian market in the Lower Mainland, covered the story as well.
  • The 100 Mile House Free Press featured 100 Mile’s Alicia Skelton, an archaeology student at SFU who is spending the summer helping to excavate a site on a small island on the Sunshine Coast. She’s working with SFU archaeologist Dana Lepofsky.
  • The Trail Times reported that two SFU students are spending the summer travelling across the province, urging residents to recycle used oil. Linnaea Wiseman and Amy Cheung are in summer co-op jobs with the B.C. Used Oil Management Association. Earlier, the Campbell River Mirror did a feature on recycling used oil and oil filters. Quoted was Wiseman, a third-year communication student.
  • The Cochrane (AB) Times promoted a distance-ed course offered by SFU’s Centre for Sustainable Community Development. It’s a certificate program in community economic development, starting in September.


  • Media across the country reported that SFU athlete Ruky Abdulai has made the Canadian Olympic team in the long jump. She was crowned Canadian champion in the long jump last weekend at the 2008 national track and field championships in Windsor ON.
    “I wasn’t happy with what I jumped over the weekend, but I am so happy the outcome was like this. I have been putting so much pressure on myself just to make the Olympics, I am glad that it’s over, now I can come back and train and focus on the Olympics.”
    The Province did a lengthy feature (coach Brit Townsend was also quoted) and The Vancouver Sun named Abdulai one of its two Athletes of the Week.
  • SFU Athlketics also told sports media how four Clan wrestlers and one coach were named to the Canadian team for the World University Wrestling Championships in Greece this week. The four: Canadian heavyweight champion Arjan Bhullar, Raj Virdi, Bo Gregson and Miranda Dick, plus head coach Justin Abdou.
  • A number of ex-Clan players were quoted in the media as the world of football paid tribute to Bob Ackles, the BC Lions president and CEO, who died of heart attack. Among the ex-Clansmen was Lions vice-president George Chayka, who now will assume control of the team’s business operations. The Province carried a full feature on Chayka.
    CanWest News Service reported that to honour Ackles the Clan will be among teams that will carry a special decal and patch on their helmets. It includes the Lions' original “orange paw” logo,  set on a black background with "BOB" in the centre.
    Also featured, in The Vancouver Sun, was SFU communication student Rosalyn Young, hired by Ackles in 2006 to go through his records. “He kept every letter of importance written to him over his 55-year career in football, programs, ticket stubs, pennants, scrapbooks and mounds of newspaper clippings.” That story was sent across Canada by CanWest News Service.
  • Vancouver Sun columnist Daphne Bramham featured grad student Daniel Igali, who is coaching and mentoring two Nigerian athletes for the summer Olympics in Beijing.
  • The Toronto Star featured top high school athletes in the Toronto region, and noted that Justin Capicciotti—chosen MVP in each of football, wrestling and rugby during his final year at Central Tech—is headed for SFU in the fall.
  • Greg Douglas, Vancouver Sun columnist and radio sportscaster, reported that Alex McKechnie, former SFU physiotherapist, would be featured in Sports Illustrated for his creation of The Core X System, a muscle rehab system used by top athletes and others. “Now the L.A. Lakers' athletic performance co-ordinator, McKechnie has developed products and programs widely used in the NBA, NFL and NHL—a long way from the small clinic he once ran in the Burnaby 8-Rinks complex.”
  • The Eau Claire (WI) Leader-Telegram featured David Kolb who, as an amateur scout for the Detroit Red Wings, got to take the Stanley Cup home to Eau Claire. The paper mentioned that he did graduate school work at SFU.
  • The Halifax Chronicle Herald and the Cape Breton Post reported that David Williamson won the Nova Scotia Men’s Amateur golf championship in a one-hole playoff. Williamson is an SFU grad, the paper noted.


  • The Vancouver Sun and music media reported Vancouver hip-hop artist Shad (a.k.a. Shadrach Kabango, a masters student in literature and philosophy at SFU) is among the 10 nominees for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize. The winner of the $20,000 award will be chosen Sept. 29. The prize was founded by Steve Jordan, a former A&R executive with Warner Music Canada and True North Records.
  • The SFU Pipe Band was in the Kamloops Daily News as the pipers and drummers prepared to play at the Kamloops Highland Games. "SFU's dominant," said Scot Kortegaard, pipe major of the Kamloops Pipe Band. "The best piping in all Western Canada is on the West Coast," he added.


  • Geoscience BC sent out a news release announcing a $2.5-million seismic survey in the Nechako Basin west of Quesnel, seeking oil and gas. It complements studies supported by Geoscience BC in partnership with SFU, UBC, the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, and Natural Resources Canada. The Oil and Gas Journal and the UK's EarthTimes carried the story.
  • Glentel Inc. distributed a news release announcing EMERGNET BC—a mobile satellite radio system for BC emergency preparedness and response organizations. Two satellite radio talk groups were developed in conjunction with SFU's Telematics Research Lab. They can be used independently of public and cellular telephone networks.
  • Surrey Now featured Ian Ponsford, an analyst in environmental approvals and management with Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic Games. That’s a job he landed after a placement at Vanoc as a co-op student while he was completing a masters degree at SFU.
  • The Montreal Gazette featured bagpiper Evan Stewart, a licensed busker in Montreal. He’s a grad of McGill's kinesiology program but, the Gazette noted, grew up in White Rock BC and played with the SFU Pipe Band.
  • The careers section of 24Hours in Vancouver featured Selina Lim, an applied behaviour analysis  therapist who works with autistic children. The paper noted she graduated from SFU with a psychology major and a minor in early childhood education.


Facts and Figures about SFU:
Search SFU News Online