SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - September 12, 2008

September 12, 2008

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A look at how SFU and its people made news: Sept. 5-12, 2008              


  • Maclean’s magazine quoted political scientist Mark Pickup—one of 17 SFU profs who have volunteered to help media cover the election—in a story on the accuracy (or lack of it) in Canadian polls and surveys of voters.
    Said Maclean’s: “By comparing the results of overlapping surveys, Pickup and Richard Johnston of the University of Pennsylvania created a complicated mathematical formula to correct for  . . . shortcomings in sampling, the wording and ordering of questions, and other more random errors. And if you trust their science more than the industry's, the 2008 campaign polls are already off to a shaky start. In the first week, Pickup places the Tories at 35.1 per cent and the Liberals at 32.5 per cent —a virtual tie given the margin of error.”
  • Energy economist Mark Jaccard was on CBC-TV’s national news in a story on the federal parties’ differing positions on the environment. He scoffed at politicians’ claims of tough green targets. “What it is, is: Do you have tougher policies?  . . . Are they putting a price on my gasoline, on my home heating fuel, on the technologies? If they're not doing that, we're not going to see emissions go down.”
  • CanWest News Service did a story on Prime Minister Harper’s attacks on the Liberals’ Green Shift plan. Jaccard was quoted as saying the Conservative green plan would not work while Stephane Dion's proposal for a carbon tax would.
    "I am not pro-Dion but the Liberals and Greens have the only policies that are realistic in that they apply an economy-wide cost on emissions to industry and non-industry. That or an economy-wide absolute cap, which Dion promises within two years, is the only way to reduce emissions without destroying the economy.”
    A similar quote from Jaccard appeared in National Post. Writer David Akin had talked with the prof via e-mail.
  • The Globe and Mail looked at Harper’s claim that the Dion Green Shift plan “would cause a big recession in this country.” The Globe quoted economist Nancy Olewiler, director of SFU’s public policy program, as saying the economy could well be stimulated by the plan’s income tax cuts.
  • Marketing prof Lindsay Meredith was in The Vancouver Sun, 24Hours and on News1130 with his take on Prime Minister Harper’s choreographed media visit to a Chinese-Canadian family home in Richmond on Sept. 1.
  • Meredith was also in The Province and on CBC Radio in a story on a Liberal website called, that bills itself as the "free encyclopedia of Conservative scandals."
  • Political scientist Patrick Smith, another prof on the list of experts, took 15 calls from reporters on assorted issues.
  • The Canadian Press looked at the Conservatives' law-and-order campaign. Among analysts quoted was criminologist Neil Boyd. "It appeals to their traditional voters, but it certainly doesn't appeal to people who vote Green, NDP or Liberal." He added that recent polls show crime is “nowhere near the top of the public agenda for most people.”


  • The Canadian Press distributed across Canada a newsfeature on Vancouver’s new Community Court. CP noted: “The court will be studied by Simon Fraser University's criminology department after the first year to determine whether it has had the effect everyone hopes it will—faster justice, lower crime rates, fewer repeat offenders and higher public confidence in the justice system.” CBC News carried the same information.
  • Physicists Michel Vetterli and Dugan O’Neil were in the media on SFU’s contribution to the successful ATLAS test on Wednesday. They and colleague Bernd Stelzer are among hundreds of scientists worldwide who will have key roles when the atom-smashing project’s data-collection starts in October.  Vetterli was on Radio 1410AM, and CBC Radio lined up O’Neil for a live interview. As well, International Science Grid this Week, the international online magazine for grid computing, will feature Vetterli next week.
  • Seven more newspapers ran another Vancouver Sun feature, looking at the changing workplace, and the advantages of having a broad education and general skills, rather than being trained for a particular job. Among those quoted were Nancy Johnston, senior director of student learning and retention at SFU, and Barbara Mitchell, associate professor of sociology.
  • The Saskatoon StarPhoenix picked up an Edmonton Journal feature of two weeks ago, on moonlighting. Mark Wexler, professor of business ethics, was quoted.
  • The Calgary Herald, Ottawa Citizen and the Truro (NS) Daily News ran a CanWest News Service feature from last week on what universities are doing to accommodate diversity. Tim Rahilly, senior director of student life, was quoted at length.
  • A story on a bear attack, in the Sudbury (ON) Star, quoted SFU biologist Alton Harestad: "(Bears) are coming close to humans because they have food and they have very high quality food. Who wants to go out there and eat low-quality vegetation when you can have pork chops, potatoes and potato skins?"
  • With Terry Fox runs for cancer research coming up on Sept. 14, SFU’s connection with the Canadian hero was mentioned in many media across Canada. A couple we saw used a photo of the Terry Fox statue on the Burnaby campus, too.


  • A lot of BC Hydro customers will see red over the utility's new electricity pricing scheme, SFU marketing guru Lindsay Meredith told The Vancouver Sun. "People with a bunch of kids, and all the costs associated with kids, will likely to get caught on that high tier. That very often turns out to be the group that has the least amount of available cash."
    The Vancouver Sun ran an editorial on the issue that echoed Meredith’s argument. “As Simon Fraser University marketing professor Lindsay Meredith explained, families won't have the flexibility to cut electricity use enough to avoid a big jump, possibly hundreds of dollars, in their power bills.”
  • The Province reported that friends are seeking to establish a dance scholarship in memory of SFU student Maija-Liisa Corbett, killed Aug. 28 when a truck plowed into a Maple Ridge sushi restaurant. One of Corbett's close friends, Elizabeth Moffat, 18, also an SFU student, said: "For me personally, it has got really better since we started this project. It gives us something to focus on and keeps us busy."
    A second woman killed in the tragedy was Hyeshim Oh, mother of SFU student Jessica Han. The truck driver, Brian Craig Irving, 51, is undergoing psychiatric assessment and has been remanded in custody to Oct. 3. He is charged with two counts of second-degree murder and six of attempted murder.
    (SFU lowered flags at the Burnaby and Vancouver campuses Sept. 10, the day of Corbett’s memorial.)
  • Education prof Kieran Egan has more interviews lined up on his new book, The Future of Education: Re-imaging the school from the ground up. It all began with last week’s full-page feature in The Vancouver Sun: “School would be radically different if Simon Fraser University education professor and philosopher Kieran Egan had his way.” Egan was then interviewed on the Bill Good show on CKNW.
    And that’s not all: Egan also appeared on the worldwide Recreating Eden garden show in a feature video about his Japanese garden.
  • The Vancouver Sun carried a full-page feature, with photos, on award-winning poet Robin Blaser. "After being largely out of the limelight since he retired from Simon Fraser University, Blaser is again receiving accolades, in part because The University of California Press has published two thick, serious volumes of his work."  Blaser, 83, won this year's $50,000 Griffin Prize for Canadian poetry, based on his recent opus, The Holy Forest: Collected Poems of Robin Blaser. CanWest News Service sent the story to other CanWest media.
  • Gordon Price, director of SFU’s City Program, was in a Vancouver Sun story on a proposal for a large-scale bicycle rental program like the Velib program in Paris. "The real challenge is retrofitting a city. . . .You've got to get an interconnected system of routes that are safe for eight-year-olds and 80-year-olds." The Calgary Herald ran the story, too.
  • Political scientist Kennedy Stewart was quoted in Globe and Mail and 24Hours storieson the tentative deal between Vision Vancouver and the Coalition of Progressive Electors to form an alliance in the municipal election in November. COPE will vote on it Sept. 14. Said Kennedy: "If it holds, it's a real coup for [Vision mayoral candidate] Gregor Robertson. It shows he has this ability to unite the left, and it maybe shows that he has what it takes."
  • Stewart was also in a Province story on the BC government’s decision not to hold a fall session of the legislature. "This suggests to me that the Liberals are entering into full-on pre-election mode, and they're probably hoping for a quiet fall, rather than a legislative session where the Opposition can score points against them."
  • The Vancouver Sun ran a newsfeature on a police warning to young people about the dangers of excessive drinking. The story noted SFU's Orientation week was officially alcohol-free, and that SFU offers peer-led student information sessions about responsible drinking. CanWest News Service sent it to CanWest media across the country.
  • The Georgia Straight had a story on student housing on BC campuses. Maureen Jackson, assistant director in Residence and Housing was quoted. So was Chris Rogerson, assistant director of Residence Life: “Studies have shown residence living means students with higher GPAs and a higher likelihood of graduation.”
  • “The Victoria Times Colonist did a feature story on the Kelty Resource Centre in Vancouver, a resource for family members to research youth mental health and addiction-related services throughout the province. The story noted: "A 2002 Simon Fraser University research study for the Ministry of Children and Family Development found about 140,000 B.C. children and youth suffer from mental-health disorders causing substantial symptoms and impairment—anxiety, conduct, attention and depressive disorders being the most common."
  • The Richmond Review reran a story from last week's Tri-City News on efforts to offer and encourage healthy foods in schools. It quoted Carrie Matteson, a PhD research associate in the chronic disease systems modelling lab at SFU.


  • Ten more newspapers, from the Campbell River Courier-Islander to the Cape Breton Post, ran a Canadian Press story on a report last week from researchers at SFU. It said that in broad areas of BC it usually makes more economic sense to conserve old-growth forests than it does to cut them down. Lead author Duncan Knowler, associate prof in the School of Resource and Environmental Management, was quoted.
    As well, The Province carried an editorial on the report, concluding: "We think this warrants further study." And the Globe and Mail ran an editorial citing the report and saying: “As it becomes easier to compare, say, board feet of lumber to hectares of protected habitat, an environmental consensus should be that much easier to achieve.”
    The Truro (NS) Daily News also had an editorial: “We’re certainly dependent on the products that trees offer, but it’s essential to see the value of forests in more than a one-dimensional way.” And that was reproduced in the Pictou County (NS) News.
    And on top of that the Weather Channel set up Knowler for an interview.
  • Sustainability magazine had a story on the launch of SFU’s Green Pages environmental sustainability web portal at (“It serves as a one-stop cyber hub where faculty, staff, students, media and the public can learn about all things green at the university.”) Somehow, though, Sustainability called us Simon Frasier University.
  • In a story on how Metro Vancouver is considering making stores charge customers for using plastic bags, the Surrey-North Delta Leader quoted SFU student Maximillian Goli, who has launched a local Facebook group fighting plastic bag use. The story also ran in the New Westminster News Leader, the Burnaby News Leader and the Maple Ridge News.
  • Speaking of things green, the St. John's Telegram and Nanaimo Daily News picked up a Vancouver Sun feature on how "green" is the latest trend in niche dating. It noted that business prof Boyd Cohen included a green dating component on his website, where he is running his "Greenest Person in the World" contest.
  • The Globe and Mail featured David Suzuki and his Green Guide, a book that provides life-coaching on shopping, eating, home-buying, travelling and other activities for those who want to tread lightly on the Earth. Among those quoted was Joseph E. Taylor, Canada Research Chair in history and geography at SFU.
  • SFU students Kevin Rey and Sandy Unger were pictured in Burnaby Now, taking “the tap water pledge”. It happened when Metro Vancouver representatives were at the Burnaby campus Sept. 4, encouraging students to stop using bottled water. The picture also ran in the New Westminster Record.
  • The BC Innovation Council invited media to the Pacific Rim Summit on the convergence of biotechnology, chemistry, agriculture and ocean sciences in the global economy. Speakers this week included biology prof Margo Moore and Martin Bliemel (PhD candidate in the Faculty of Business Administration).


  • Rob Gordon, director of the school of criminology, was in a Toronto Star story about the fourth trial ordered for Kelly Ellard in the 1997 murder of teenager Reena Virk. "So many trials is most unusual," said Gordon. "There have obviously been concerns about the quality of evidence and some of the evidence was viewed as hearsay and arguments about whether they should have been admitted at trial."
  • In an editorial on the Ellard case, The Vancouver Sun cited suggestions by SFU psychologists James Ogloff and Gordon Rose to improve juries’ comprehension of judges' instructions. Said the Sun: “These suggestions . . . could go a long way toward ensuring that judges' charges state the law accurately, and that jurors understand it.”
  • Rob Gordon was also in a Nanaimo Daily News story on how the Hells Angels have opened a new clubhouse there, their old one having been seized by police nine months ago. The story also ran in the Victoria Times Colonist and the Nanaimo Harbour Star.
  • Criminologist Neil Boyd was on the Early Edition show on CBC Radio, speaking to the issue of criminals stalling their court cases in order to get extra credit for their pretrial time in jail.
  • Health Sciences prof Benedikt Fischer had a letter in The Vancouver Sun decrying kickback schemes by some Downtown Eastside pharmacies that are paid by the BC government to distribute methadone to heroin addicts. But he continued: “Having some 8,000 addicts receive methadone from community-based pharmacies involved in a bit of improper advertising is preferable to the consequences of overdose rates and drug-related crime as a result of restricting methadone distribution—which is where methadone treatment in B.C. was until a few years ago.”


  • SFU scored the biggest win of its men's soccer season in Beaverton OR last weekend, taking a 1-0 decision from Azusa Pacific, defending NAIA champion and No. 1-ranked team. Milos Jeftic headed home a Stefano Pannu corner. The Clan went 2-0 on the weekend, after opening with a 1-0 win over Westmount College on Sept. 4.
  • SFU Athletics also told media how Sarah Boulton’s sixth goal of the season led the Clan women’s soccer team to a 1-0 victory over the St. Martin’s University Saints. That brought the Clan to 6-0 on the year. The next home game is Sept. 27 vs. Carroll College.
  • In Bellingham, Ryan Brockerville won his first race of the 2008 season to lead the Clan men’s cross-country team to a title at the 2008 Orca Cross Country Invitational. On the women’s side, Angela Shaw finished second over-all to help the Clan women to a second-place finish.
  • No trash-talk in a news release from head football coach Dave Johnson as the Clan football team prepared to play the U of Saskatchewan Huskies in the BC Place stadium Sept. 13. (It’s the first game in a twinbill; later the BC Lions play host to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.) The Clan has never beaten the Huskies, and Johnson said: “We need to match their intensity and execution and if we make mistakes it will be over quickly.”
  • The Vancouver Sun featured Clan quarterback Bernd Dittrich, who echoed Johnson: "They're very disciplined and don't make many mistakes. I believe we can win if we make fewer mistakes than them. But that's not going to be easy."
  • Athletics also told media how the Clan Radio Network is adding men’s and women’s soccer to its broadcast lineup for the 2008-09 season. SFU student Shaheed Delvi will serve as the play-by-play voice. The Clan Radio Network has previously broadcast men’s and women’s basketball, football and softball games. (Info:
  • The Canadian Press and other sports mediareported from Boston MA that Curtis Manning of SFU was drafted sixth (by the Calgary Roughnecks) in the National Lacrosse League entry draft on the weekend. He was captain of both the New Westminster Junior Salmonbellies last season as well as the SFU field lacrosse team. Alex Turner of SFU was drafted 32nd, by the San Jose Stealth.  There were 76 players in the draft.
  • SFU psychologist Mario Liotti was mentioned in a guest column in The Vancouver Sun on what we could learn from brain scans of athletes in competition. The column cited an article in Science on a project in which Liotti and others used neuroscience and functional brain imaging to help athletes find the mental edge needed to perform optimally.


  • Two members of the SFU pipe band won big honours in the prime events for bagpipe players at the Northern Meeting Piping Competitions in Scotland Sept. 4-5. It’s a competition that drew the top 100 pipers worldwide to Inverness. Alan Bevan won the Gold Medal contest for piobaireachd, the most difficult of all events for solo pipers. Colin Lee won the Silver Medal event for piobaireachd, the first level for professional pipers.
  • Linda Grant, a writer who pursued grad studies at SFU, is one of six novelists shortlisted for the Man Booker prize for fiction. She’s nominated for The Clothes on Their Backs. Reviewers called it “a passionate, meaty book” and “a beautifully detailed character study, a poignant family history and a richly evocative portrait of the late 1970s.”
  • The Vancouver Courier and the Yukon News featured film-maker Tony Massil, an SFU grad whose short film Forty Men for the Yukon earned a slot in this year's Toronto International Film Festival and will also be shown at the Vancouver International Film Fest, Sept. 25-Oct. 10.


  • Lesley Cormack, dean of arts and social sciences, had a letter in The Vancouver Sun noting SFU  has been delivering aboriginal language instruction throughout BC for more than 20 years. “One of the most interesting innovations to come from this program is the work of SFU instructor Susan Russell. She and her students worked with Pacific Coastal Airlines to deliver safety instructions in Heiltsukvla on flights out of Bella Coola, to complement the usual English and French.”
  • The BC government announced to media that SFU student Alexander Hemingway has won the biggest Queen Elizabeth II BC Centennial Scholarship to pursue graduate studies in another Commonwealth country. Hemingway is an honours psychology major with a minor in computing. He plans to use his $60,000 scholarship to study global politics at the London School of Economics. The Prince George Citizen promptly ran a story.
  • Maclean’s Online looked at a U of Calgary promise to first-year students to guarantee graduation in four years. Among those quoted was Shane Turner, a third-year engineering student at SFU. “(He) originally planned to push through school in four years, but is now aiming for five instead. ‘Even if you know what you want to take from the beginning, you can’t always get the courses,’ said Turner.”
  • 24Hours did a story on how SFU no longer accepts credit cards for tuition payments.  “Seeking to cut costs, the university has decided it doesn't want to lose the estimated $700,000 yearly it pays in credit card transaction fees for tuition.” The paper cited a “lean budget”, resulting from BC government funding numbers. Registrar Kate Ross was quoted.  So was student society president Joe Paling, who said: “ . . . We see our tutorials being cut. For my department in history, we don't have enough faculty. Many professors are retiring and they're not hiring enough people to replace them."
  • e.Republic's Center for Digital Education and Converge magazine announced winners of their 2008 Digital Education Achievement Awards. One was yet another visual-media award for A Journey into Time Immemorial from SFU’s Learning and Instructional Development Centre and the SFU Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, in collaboration with the Sto:lo web site development committee and the Xa:ytem Interpretive Center in Mission.
  • A feature on on small schools quoted communication prof Catherine Murray: "The best thing that ever happened to my son." TheTyee also cited a report she wrote with Hien Nguyen and Michele Schmidt of the faculty of education, Does School Size Matter? A Social Capital Perspective. "The three argue that small schools not only make for better students, but for better citizens."
  • Murray was also in a story in South Asian Post, lauding the paper for becoming the first Indo-Canadian community newspaper in BC to be nominated for a Jack Webster Award for Excellence in Journalism. Murray directed the BC Ethnic Media Study in  2007.
  • Student Layne Clark’s second mini-column in 24Hours described being late for her first lecture (English) on the Burnaby campus. Late or not, “I realize that I am officially a student at SFU and I actually want to be there.”
  • Burnaby Now reported six Burnaby students are getting help with their back-to-school costs, thanks to B.C. Housing education awards. Among the six: "Burnaby student Moslem Kazemi said the award will help him support his family while he pursues a doctorate in robotics at Simon Fraser University. Kazemi moved to Canada as an international student in 2002 and became an immigrant in 2007."
  • And the Chilliwack Times reported Sandra Tunbridge, an SFU Health Sciences student, won the Envision Financial Education Award, a scholarship offered by Envision, the Fraser Valley-based credit union.


  • Seen on blogs this week:  A reference to a paper by Valorie CrooksVera Chouinard and R. D. Wilton of SFU Geography on a study of 55 women living with fibromyalgia syndrome. . . . Discussion of a statement by Communication prof Zhao Yuezhi questioning China’s efforts to tell its people to “devote your limited life to unlimited consumption.”  . . . A citation of a report on housing for the homeless, quoting Julian Somers, director of SFU's Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction. . .  An item on Nima Motamedi, an SFU student who introduced an LCD-monitor version of Microsoft Surface.  . . . Mention of a study on hazard-warning systems in Sri Lanka that includes expertise from Communication prof Peter Anderson.

ALSO in the NEWS

  • Chuck Davis’s Vancouver history website (, noted on Tuesday: “On September 9, 1965—43 years ago today—Simon Fraser University admitted its first students on Burnaby Mountain. Designed by Arthur Erickson and Geoffrey Massey, SFU had been built—thanks to the hard-driving Dr. Gordon Shrum—within two years. 2,500 students enrolled. (Today? Approximately 26,000 full-time and part-time students.)”
  • The Chilliwack Progress and Chilliwack Times reported Ashcroft councillor Helen Kormendy is the NDP's candidate for the federal election in Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon. A social worker, she has a BA in political science from SFU.
  • Former Chinese radio host Ronald Leung announced to media that he is running under the Conservative banner in Burnaby-Douglas. The release noted he has a doctorate from SFU.
  • The Langley Times featured Bev Dornan, who is running  for a Langley Township council seat. The general manager of merchandise at Otter Co-op, Dornan is an SFU business grad, the Times noted. And the Delta Optimist featured Anne Peterson, an SFU grad and community cable TV host who is  running for Delta council.
  • The Vernon Morning Star featured Marilyn Merler, who is moving to Vancouver as new president of the B.C. Principals' and Vice-Principals' Association. She has a master's in education from SFU.
  • The Ontario College of Art and Design named Kathryn Shailer as associate vice-president, academic. She’s a former director of integrated and credit studies at SFU.


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