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SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS August 28, 2008

August 28, 2008

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A look at how SFU and its people made news: Aug. 22-28, 2008                    

Sports media all over North America reported how the new-look SFU Clan football team won its first game of the season last Saturday.
It made headlines because this was the Clan’s first win after 25 straight losses, going back to October 2004.  The victory was even sweeter because it was 24-10 over UBC. 

And then the Clan got even more media coverage because of the coming “Super Football Saturday”.

(More on all this below.)

BC NEWS

  • Student Life manager Liesl Jurock nailed a lengthy spot on CKNW radio news, discussing Orientation Week.

    CKNW also used info from an SFU news release reporting increased enrolment at SFU. (As of Aug. 18, close to 5,200 students had registered for first year, well ahead of the university’s target of 4,889 and up from last year’s intake of 5,169 first-year students.) Coquitlam Now ran the release in full.

    As well, CBC Radio came up to the rainy Burnaby campus Aug. 27 to do some Orientation coverage.
  • The death of a 20-year-old man in Burnaby, from a fatal amount of alcohol imbibed on a dare from ”friends”, led Burnaby RCMP to issue a warning to youth and students against overdoing their drinking. And that led to a flurry of calls from news media asking what SFU does to warn students about alcohol and drugs, and what health and counselling services are available. Among those responding were Erika Horwitz and Michelle Burtnyk of Health and Counselling and Chris Rogerson of Residence Life.
  • Speaking of Health and Counselling Services, Megan Pinfield, clinical counsellor, was on the Early Edition show on CBC Radio, talking about the Summer Health Institute workshops that took place at SFU Surrey.
  • As the list of products containing possibly contaminated Maple Leaf meats grew each day this week, marketing prof Lindsay Meredith was on CKWX News1130: "There is a good argument here that for health sake, and for recall, perhaps where you have a large number of brands produced by one manufacturer or packing house in Toronto, you could easily say 'Here's Brand X, manufactured by Maple Leaf'."
  • Political scientist Kennedy Stewart was in a Vancouver Sun story on the provincial NDP's nomination of activist Jenn McGinn as its candidate in the Vancouver-Fairview byelection. "It's a tough seat," said  Stewart. He added that the byelection will be a test of the Liberals' carbon tax.
  • Stewart was also in The Province in a story on an Angus Reid poll showing the NDP ahead of the provincial Liberals. He said the poll is the first "evidence" that NDP leader Carol James can be premier. "She's steady and calm, which seems to be quite effective. For the first time, the NDP is a real threat to the Liberals." (Stewart ran for the NDP federally in 2004.)
  • With federal election talk in the air, CKWX News1130 carried a story quoting SFU political scientist Lynda Erickson. She said of Tory leader Stephen Harper: “I imagine his strategic thinking is that things would be worse later in the fall. There are suggestions it wouldn't be a good idea to go, to have an election after an American election if Obama appears to be very popular."
  • Communication prof Richard Smith was in a story on TheTyee.ca that looked at the price of text-messaging in Canada. Telus and Bell claim they have to charge more for text messages because Canadians are texting so much, but Smith said: “The strain-on-the-networks argument is embarrassingly inaccurate. It is incredible that they are able to  . . . say something like that.”
  • The Georgia Straight carried a half-page newsfeature on business prof Boyd Cohen’s contest to find “the greenest person in the world”—which Cohen calls “American Idol for green people.”   Said Cohen: “We’ve been covered in magazines and newspapers and websites from Malaysia to China, all over the U.S. and Canada.”
  • Criminologist Lynne Bell spoke on CFAX Radio, Victoria, onher research that suggests King Henry the Eighth's warship, the Mary Rose, sank in 1545 because the mostly Spanish crew didn't understand the captain's orders.  Bell examined teeth from a sample of human remains and found most of the crew weren't Britons, as always believed, but from a more southern part of Europe. The finding was confirmed by recently found letters written by the king in which he said he'd hired 600 Spanish mariners.
  • A column in the Goldstream Gazette on Vancouver Island criticized a municipal plan in nearby Langford to crack down on the homeless.  “The grab’em, jail’em tactic doesn’t work. Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Health Sciences estimated that 8,000 to 15,500 adults in B.C. with severe addictions or mental illness are homeless and almost 40,000 are inadequately housed.”

NATIONAL NEWS

  • SFU economist Doug Allen wrote a guest column in the Financial Post section of National Post, on how Canada could better fund Olympic athletes. The current setup, he said, is inefficient, and “money gets wasted on promotions, trips, five-star hotel rooms and salaries for administrators.” He concluded: “It is possible to design a revenue neutral tax incentive scheme, whereby the same dollars spent on the current system could be spent on tax incentives. The difference would be more medals.”
  • Public policy prof Jon Kesselman also wrote a guest column in Financial Post, saying Canadian carbon tax schemes can “actually worsen incentives for many households.” He continued: “Better design could improve this outcome—both by extending income tax cuts to upper brackets and by eschewing the use of carbon tax revenues for redistributive policies (an overt goal of the Green Shift plan) rather than compensation for the carbon tax.”
  • National Post ran a feature on the jabbering about private matters on cellphones in public—“polluting public space”. Communication prof Richard Smith was quoted: “The common space that people share (is) under stress.”
  • The Canadian Press reported that test runs involving SFU scientists will begin Sept. 10 on the massive atom-smasher in Switzerland.

    "In experiments beginning next month, the $10-billion Large Hadron Collider will re-create what happened in the split second after the Big Bang. . . . It's also designed to prove the existence of the theoretical Higgs boson, once dubbed the God particle, that is theorized to give mass to everything in the universe. The particle is key to the standard model of physics, yet has never been observed."

    CP mentioned that, through TRIUMF, SFU scientists are part of the team. We saw the story in more than a dozen media outlets.
  • A Vancouver Sun column looked at the question of whether John McCain or Barack Obama would be "the better bet for this country".  The column said in part:

    "'It is a clear case for Canada's prime interests, John McCain is the far better candidate for Canada,' declares Alexander Moens, senior fellow at the Fraser Institute, which tends to espouse a right-leaning perspective. The Simon Fraser University political scientist, specializing in international relations and U.S. policy, says such a view is apt to confuse many Canadians who generally favour Democrats and relish the idea of a black president. But, he says, Canadians would be wise to think beyond ideals and consider narrowly what's in their best interest on several key policy fronts."

    The Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Windsor Star picked up the column.
  • Four newspapers from BC to Newfoundlandpicked up last week’s feature from the Edmonton Journal on moonlighting. The expert it quoted at length was SFU’s Mark Wexler, professor of business ethics. "Say, I'm a chef. You hire me. I work 40 hours for you. I have your secret recipe for some kind of salad dressing. Someone else hires me part-time and I make the salad dressing. There's a problem—or a potential problem.”
  • And The Vancouver Sun picked up a feature that ran in the Ottawa Citizen a month ago on Esperanto—the "international second language" that has never become one. Among Esperanto speakers in the story: SFU education prof Mark Fettes, who learned the language as an adolescent, and whose wife and three primary school-age children all speak Esperanto. Said Fettes: "All kinds of people are attracted to Esperanto. People interested in languages; people who like designing things—we get a lot of people with computer or gaming backgrounds; and people who come into it for idealistic reasons."

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • Australia’s Canberra Times carried a column from Andrew Mack, director of the Human Security Research Project at SFU Vancouver. He challenged John McCain’s contention that the Bush Administration's surge of an extra 30,000 troops to Iraq has produced a steep decline in political violence. “ . . . he is wrong. The surge has undoubtedly played a modestly positive security role in Iraq but, contrary to Senator McCain's assertion, it has not been the major factor driving that country's welcome decline in violence.”

    Earlier, the Brisbane Times ran a Sydney Morning Herald editorial: “Australia’s Defence Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon, told the National Press Club a few weeks ago that we now face ‘an increasingly uncertain security environment’. Really? The Human Security Project at Simon Fraser University in Canada finds the world becoming, on one important measure, a safer place.”

    The Human Security Report’s 2007 brief continued to be written about in blogs worldwide, as it has every week since it was released on May 21. We saw half a dozen more mentions this week. (You can see the report at http://www.humansecuritybrief.info/access.html)
  • Criminologist Dave MacAlister was on the front page of Epoch Times locally, and in its national and U.S. editions, in a story on China's treatment of political protesters and critics during the Olympic games.
  • AsianTribune.com carried a column from prof Kanbawza Win, SFU School of International Studies, questioning the role of the UN and its mediation efforts in Burma. “ . . . has the UN become a paper tiger that cannot roar or bite? . . . Burma will be a test case for (UN Secretary-General) Ban Ki Moon’s visit in Christmas.”
  • UniqueVenues.com, which serves conference centres and planners in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Ireland, featured SFU’s Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue: “It is a concept that is older than King Arthur's Round Table. Meetings set up in a circle facilitate nonhierarchical communication. Everyone is equal. All perspectives are shared.”  

The POLICE BEAT

  • SFU criminologist Neil Boyd helped The Vancouver Sun with two stories on crime statistics:
    • First, the Sun reported Vancouver saw solid drops in reported violent and property crimes between 2006 and 2007. Deputy police chief Doug Lepard credited an increase in police hirings: "More police officers equal less crime." But Boyd said:  "Demographics and culture have a lot more to do with reducing the crime rates that we experience than policing itself."
    • Then the Sun carried a story saying the reported crime rate in BC as a whole is at a 30-year low. Boyd issued a caution about the numbers. “[For] all the really serious kinds of crime, they're very reliable, because that all tends to get reported," he said. “[For] property crime and drug crime, the police-reported data are not terribly reliable because of differences in reporting rates, and, with drug crime, changes in enforcement strategies." The Victoria Times Colonist, Nanaimo Daily News and CHEK-TV (Victoria) picked up that story.
  • Boyd was also in a column in the Yukon News that criticized the federal Conservatives for attacking Vancouver’s InSite supervised drug injection site. “Neil Boyd, Professor of Criminology at Simon Fraser University, found that InSite is cost-effective, popular with local businesses, citizens and police, and that it reduces street crime, saves lives, and helps direct addicts toward treatment. Since InSite opened in 2003, staff has successfully intervened in 868 overdoses.”
  • Farther afield, Boyd was also in a story in the Nashville Tennessean on police use of Tasers. “When Tasers first arrived, they were deployed and the consequences were maybe not thought through. Now, in light of a better understanding on how they work, the police, the public and politicians are all rethinking the appropriate framework.”
  • Rob Gordon, director of SFU Criminology, was on GlobalTV news, discussing the case of a woman who killed her baby under the influence of post-partum depression.
  • Gordon was also in a story in the Penticton Herald, giving a similar warning to that issued by Boyd on the reported reduction in the crime rate in BC.

ATHLETICS

  • How sweet it was: SFU Athletics sent details to the media of how the Clan football team won its first game of the season last Saturday—after 25 straight losses. The victory: 24-10 over crosstown rival UBC. It was the first win for the Clan since October 23, 2004.

    Noted the Globe and Mail: “The streak is finally over, and it took a quarterback from Austria to do it. . . . Clan quarterback Bernd Dittrich of Vienna completed 15 of 25 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start.”

    The Vancouver Sun pursued the same angle: “When Dave Johnson took over as head coach of the beleaguered SFU football program, he . . . decided to take a gamble on a little-known quarterback from Austria named Bernd Dittrich and that decision has begun to play off handsomely. After seeing almost no action in his first season with the Clan, Dittrich was chosen at this year's opening-game starter. Saturday, he responded in style. . . .”

    The Province noted Johnson stepped up the team’s strength training. "Our guys have been going since November non-stop. If you missed a workout, you got cut. . . . We had to do something. We were not strong enough, fast enough or fit enough to compete in our conference."

    And so, The Province wrote, “After three long seasons, the streak is dead and a new life is pulsing through the pads of the Simon Fraser Clan football program. . . . ‘We got outplayed today and that's it,’ said UBC head coach Ted Goveia.”

    Dittrich was named CIS and Canada West offensive player of the week and Clan linebacker Mark Bailey was selected CIS and Canada West defensive player of the week.

    Athletics has a video recap of the game at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbqAJF9qrwM
  • Maclean’s magazine noted: “While SFU fans may think 25 games is a bad losing streak, University of Toronto fans must be praying for divine intervention. The UofT Varsity Blues have lost all of their last 49 games. . . . Their last win came in 2001 when they beat the Windsor Lancers 13-11.”
  • SFU was in the headlines again with a release on “Super Football Saturday”, set for Sept. 13 at BC Place. The Clan then take on the University of Saskatchewan Huskies at noon, followed by the BC Lions vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders at 7 pm. It’s the first such doubleheader in the 25-year history of BC Place.
  • Athletics communicator Scott McLean got a byline as a “NewsLeader Contributor” on a feature story in the Burnaby NewsLeader on Clan wide receiver Milos Zivkovic, who "suffered through 24 of the Clan’s 25 consecutive losses".

    Said Zivkovic: “It’s frustrating when you have to hear about [the losing streak] from friends and from family members who don’t understand how much work you are putting in to play football. It’s 12 months of the year, we train, we run, we work out, and it’s frustrating when people don’t give you a chance.”

    The New Westminster NewsLeader also ran the story.
  • SFU Athletics also gave media all the action as the Clan men's soccer  team won their first game of the 2008 season on Saturday. They defeated the Warner Pacific Knights 2-1 in Portland.  “We put on a brave performance today," said SFU head coach Alan Koch. "We marked incredibly well."
  • And Athletics spread the word on how Sarah Boulton’s fourth goal of the season led the Clan women’s soccer team to a 1-0 victory over the Westmont College (CA) Warriors. The Clan improved to 2-0 on the season
  • Carol Huynh’s return to Calgary from the Beijing Olympics—wearing her wrestling gold medal—brought more national publicity for her alma mater, SFU.  "I'm not sure what to expect but I'm excited and I'll enjoy my minutes of fame or whatever it gives me. I realize I'm in a position to be a role model for young people so I'm looking forward to that."
  • 24Hours spoke with her former coach, SFU’s Mike Jones: "She's quick to laugh and not take herself so seriously. I think that will hold her in good stead." And The Vancouver Sun said: “Mike Jones, who coached Huynh at SFU, predicted before she left for Beijing that she'd win a medal. ‘Carol's quick, and she has a great sense of where she is. We don't teach those things. Either you have it or you don't’."
  • Burnaby Now did a roundup story on SFU athletes at the games.
  • And The Vancouver Sun ran a feature on the huge support Canada's Olympians have had from their families. Among the families mentioned was that of Carolyn Murray, triathlete and an ex-Clan track star. Dad Bill Murray said Carolyn's SFU scholarship was a huge help for his family. Carolyn finished 29th in the Beijing triathlon. Said her father: "Whether it's top 10 or the podium or whatever, it's not the issue. She made the Olympics. Of course, I always hope she does great. But whatever she does is perfect to me."

    CanWest News Service sent the story to CanWest media across Canada.
  • Athletic alumna Jessica Des Mazes, former national team member in wheelchair basketball, had a letter in The Vancouver Sun, challenging a Sun headline. “I was disappointed to see the word ‘handicapped’ used in an archaic and demeaning fashion. . . . To quote Rick Hansen, ‘My disability is that I cannot use my legs. My handicap is your negative perception of that disability and, thus, of me’."

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

  • The Early Edition show on CBC Radio did a long interview with artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. This in advance of his public lecture Aug. 27 on his work, Remember, created for the Vancouver Memory Festival. The lecture was sponsored by SFU's Writing and Publishing Program.
  • The Monterey County Herald in California reported: "Word filtered in from Canada that a Big Sur drummer has distinguished himself in Scotland. Michael O'Neill is the drummer for the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, which won its fifth world championship in the center of the universe for pipe bands, Glasgow Green."  The word actually filtered in from one of a string of PAMR news releases to hometown media of members of the champion band.

EDUCATION

  • BC Housing announced to media that Perihan Sucu will get a BC Housing bursary to help her in her final year at SFU, where she is completing her masters in education.

ALSO in the NEWS

  • The Canadian Institute of Planners told media that it has inducted Michael Geller, former president and CEO of SFU Community Trust, into its College of Fellows. “Geller . . . was hired by Simon Fraser University to oversee the creation of UniverCity, a new community on Burnaby Mountain. UniverCity has gone on to receive numerous awards including a prestigious award from the American Planning Association.”

    TheTyee.ca and 24Hours ran a feature on Geller in his role as a candidate for Vancouver city council in the November elections.
  • Alaska Airlines named Navin Mithel as managing director of customer relationship management. Mithel holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from SFU, the company’s news release said.
  • The Campbell River Mirror reported hundreds of people jammed the downtown community hall for a memorial to honour “legendary educator” Barry Henshal, who died at 63. The paper noted he got his masters of education at SFU.

The BLOGOSPHERE

  • Among SFU names spotted on various blogs this week: Len Berggren, historian of mathematics, on the skills of medieval Muslim mathematicians; and piper Jori Chisholm, on the SFU Pipe Band's world championship. 

MORE LINKS

http://www.sfu.ca/pamr/media_releases/rss/index.xml

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