SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS November 23, 2007

November 26, 2007

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A look at how SFU and its people fared in the news media: Nov. 16-23, 2007                 

  • Not many professors star in three big features in three major newspapers on the same weekend. But SFU author David Chariandy hit that triple last weekend. The stories were in the Globe and Mail, The Vancouver Sun and the Montreal Gazette. Chariandy’s a professor of post-colonial literature and author of an acclaimed first novel, Soucouyant.
  • Meanwhile, SFU criminologists Rob Gordon and Neil Boyd were also busy media stars this week. More on their stories below. . . .


  • There was wide news coverage of the BC government’s announcement this week of its new climate action team—and that SFU energy guru Mark Jaccard has agreed to act as special adviser to both the new team and the provincial cabinet committee on climate change.
    As well, Jaccard co-authored a guest commentary in National Post arguing that that carbon-tax pricing is an effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. His co-authors were researcher Nic Rivers of SFU’s School of Resource and Environmental Management and David Keith of the University of Calgary.
    A Patrick Brethour business column in the Globe and Mail looked at BC’s cap-and-trade approach to tackling greenhouse gases. It quoted Jaccard: "A carbon tax is more economically efficient.”
    was also in the Ireland edition of Epoch Times, on the state and fate of the Kyoto Accord. He branded it as only "a first effort by rich countries to demonstrate their seriousness to poor countries so that they might eventually join in.”

  • The Globe and Mail, reporting on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to Africa, wondered about the softening of Ottawa’s commitment to aid to Africa. John Richards, public policy prof, said he sees nothing wrong with that. “I think Chrétien and Martin were too obsessed with Africa. We should continue to devote resources to it, but I don't think this should be the only focus."

  • The Toronto Star looked at Quebec's experience with harmonizing its sales tax with the federal GST, and quoted experts who say the remaining hold-out provinces (BC is one) should follow suit. The Star quoted public policy prof Jon Kesselman, who argues in favour of full harmonization.

  • Doug Puffer, director of planned giving in SFU Advancement, talked to the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business magazine about how people can donate securities to good causes . . . such as universities.

  • Canadian Business featured Vancouver mining magnate Frank Giustra, who is giving $100-million-plus to countries affected by mining to provide clean water, health, nutrition and education. The feature quoted John Peloza, an assistant prof in SFU Business Administration, who studies corporate social responsibility.

  • The Financial Post section of National Post listed the team from SFU’s Segal Graduate School of Business as ranking 14th (out of 16 university teams) after the first month of this year's Financial Post MBA Portfolio Competition.

  • In England, The Guardian featured (and raised a number of consumer-oriented questions about)’s new "Kindle" e-book device. Among those quoted was John Maxwell, an assistant prof in the Master of Publishing Program at SFU. He pointed to digital rights management and content sharing as a bigger challenge than hurdles technical.


  • The Vancouver Sun said a draft report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes a multi-century environmental disaster cannot be averted without a global effort to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. Among those quoted was Deborah Harford, program director of SFU's Adaptation to Climate Change Team. "Even if we do reduce our emissions, the next 10-20 years have just heated up in terms of what we are going to be seeing."

  • The Vancouver Courier carried another in a series of columns on the theories on addictions of Bruce Alexander, professor emeritus of psychology.  "We need to belong; we get that socially, If we don't have it in our society, we get it through addictions."

  • SFU told media about a research project by Kelleen Toohey of the Education faculty on how computer and Internet literacy may enrich the learning of non-English speaking children in different ways. The Peace Arch News called for more details. And with Toohey being a Langley resident, the Langley Advance promptly ran our release.  The Langley Times asked for a photo; we promptly arranged to shoot one. BCIT broadcast students also went for a story.

  • A camera crew from BCIT’s broadcast journalism program pursued Lee Gavel, SFU’s Chief Facility Officer and University Architect. This for a TV story on how the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada is recognizing the Burnaby campus with its Prix du XXe siècle (20th century prize). The award celebrates the enduring excellence of nationally significant architecture.

  • The Journal of Commerce reported on the plans to move SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts from the Burnaby campus to Vancouver in 2009. The BC government announced last week it is investing $49.3 million in the $71.5-million project.

  • An Ian Mulgrew column in The Vancouver Sun covered Senator Romeo Dallaire’s appearance at an SFU conference on Civil Wars and Genocide last week. It also quoted Lara Nettelfield, an assistant professor at SFU's School for International Studies, on war-crimes trials. 

  • Warren Gill, SFU vice-president and geographer, was on CKWX Radio, commenting on a new report on Canada’s aging municipal infrastructure.

  • And Gordon Price, director of SFU’s City Program, spoke on CBC Radio’s On the Coast show about trolley bus delays caused by ice on the overhead wires in the Lower Mainland.

  • The Langley Advance quoted local MP Mark Warawa and MLA Mary Polak on their governments’ contributions to a National Chair in Autism Research and Intervention at SFU. It was announced last month.

  • The BC Catholic ran a feature on the opening of the SFU Interfaith Centre on the Burnaby campus.  The newspaper noted the centre is shared by all faiths, and billed it as "a beautiful new oasis of faith for students seeking Catholic fellowship."

  • Coquitlam Now promoted a string of upcoming Philosophers Cafés, with the introduction: "SFU hosts philosophers' cafés at various locations throughout the Lower Mainland."

  • The Province featured The Vancouver Transition Program in which gifted children can zip through five years of high school in two, and get into university at 14. It's run by the Vancouver School Board and UBC—but the paper noted that alumni include Florence Woo,  a linguistics prof at SFU (who was in university by 14) and Paulman Chan, the youngest person to graduate from SFU's undergraduate engineering program (at age 18) in 2005.


Criminologists Rob Gordon and Neil Boyd were  regularly in the media this week:

  • As coverage continued of the Taser death at Vancouver International Airport, school of criminology director Gordon did a couple of interviews with CTV, and then spent 45 minutes being interviewed by Mark Forsythe on CBC Radio’s Almanac show. That interview was done by phone from Gordon’s conference hotel room in Atlanta GA.
    Gordon was also in The Vancouver Sun as BC solicitor general John Les did a full 180-degree turn, and said he now is willing to discuss the idea of a regional police force. Said Gordon: “We're the last largest metropolitan area in Canada to not have a metropolitan police force. What do the others know that we don't?”
    The Globe and Mail reported on new statistics showing that, despite a falling crime rate, the number of Canadians in jail rose for the first time in a decade. The paper quoted Gordon: “It's likely that we'll see the incarceration rate climb with no appreciable impact on the crime rate."
    In a Canadian Press story on the issue, carried by a number of papers and broadcast outlets, SFU criminologist David MacAlister was quoted: “"I think, overall, we've seen in recent years concern that's been expressed through the Conservative government about judges supposedly being soft on sentencing. Not that I think they ever were, but I think that's bound to have an impact on judges. They're going to be sentencing people for longer periods of time and holding people they might otherwise have released just because of the pressure."  
    MacAlister was also in the Georgia Straight, calling for “genuine civilian oversight” of police, in the wake of the YVR Taser death.
    Gordon was also quoted by CTV following the mysterious escape of a high-level gangster from the North Fraser Pretrial Centre. And he was in The Vancouver Sun, Victoria Times-Colonist and Nanaimo Daily News suggesting the recent seizure by police of Nanaimo's Hells Angels clubhouse does little to tackle organized crime and will likely push the biker gang farther underground.

  • Boyd was invited by the Globe and Mail to sit in the expert’s seat—on the Globe’s website—and answer online questions from the public. The focus: Will the Conservative government’s new crackdown-on-crime laws reduce crime? Earlier, Boyd was in the Globe and Mail calling for a national inquiry into the use of Tasers and use-of-force procedures. Boyd said he doubts RCMP will be able to justify what they did at YVR. "Unless there's some remarkable explanation, it would seem to be a use of force that was inappropriate to the circumstances." 
    Boyd was also in the Ottawa Citizen. And then on CBC Radio as the BC government announced a public inquiry into the YVR incident.
    Boyd was also in The Vancouver Sun commenting on the federal government proposal to make every gang-related murders result in a charge of first-degree murder. Boyd said the threat of longer sentences won't deter gang members from shooting and killing each other. "The issue isn't penalties. The issue is certainty of apprehension. . . . Saying you're going to get tough with this group won't work." The story also appeared in the Victoria Times Colonist.
    Boyd was quoted in The Province, too, on federal legislation to set mandatory prison terms for drug traffickers. "It will make increased profitability," said Boyd. "It will be good for dealers, who will be able to pass their risks of doing business onto consumers."
    And in the Georgia Straight, Boyd said: “There’s just no support for the idea that punishment will get the social safety we want.”
    As the Robert Pickton serial-murder trial in New Westminster headed to the jury, CBC Radio interviewed psychology lecturer Gordon Rose, an expert in jury studies. "This is the start of their job from their perspective, so everything that goes up before this is kind of getting in the way."


  • Three major newspapers last weekend featured David Chariandy, professor of post-colonial literature and author of an acclaimed first novel, Soucouyant. (It's nominated for the $25,000 Governor General's award for fiction, which will be awarded Nov. 27, and was long-listed for the prestigious Giller prize.)
    The stories were in the Globe and Mail, The Vancouver Sun and the Montreal Gazette.
    The Globe and Mail reported: “Chariandy isn't one to sit still. . . . Now, he's formulating ideas for his next novel. He'd like to write about the relationship between a man charged with murder and his younger brother, an effeminate, aspiring poet. He is fascinated by the emphasis placed on masculinity by young, black males. Brother, he'd like to call it.”
    The Gazette noted that Chariandy's wife is Sophie McCall, a fellow SFU English prof. "We talk a lot about work at home," said Chariandy. "We never escape."  Chariandy also did a public reading Nov. 20 in the WAC Bennett Library on the Burnaby campus.

  • The Georgia Straight reported the Downtown Eastside Residents Association as objecting to the BC government’s investment of $49.3 million to help move the School for the Contemporary Arts from the Burnaby campus to downtown, rather than building housing.  Chris Arnet, senior director of development for SFU, pointed out, though, that the school will have 200 units of social housing atop its building, and will be a community asset.

  • Surrey Now promoted a showing of a movie by SFU co-op student Alice Tai about Whalley's "jailed" bench. (The film tells of a bench—completely surrounded by a fence—near a SkyTrain station. The Whalley Business Improvement Association staged a mock trial of the imprisoned bench during a June community festival. The bench was found innocent and the "jury" decided it should be released.)

  • The Langley Advance featured and promoted a documentary film on the life and death of  Ethical Addictions—a Langley City coffee shop that closed its doors last June. The documentarist is former employee James O'Callaghan, 19, who is a music major at SFU.


  • Last weekend brought the Clan women's cross-country team an NAIA national championship for a record fifth year in a row. And the Clan men finished a creditable fourth. In an advance story on the events in Wisconsin, The Province recalled the Clan's August boot camp at Whistler. Women's head coach Brit Townsend was quoted.
    Meanwhile, the Clan men’s soccer team moved on to the NAIA National Championship semifinals for the first time since 1991. But the Clan were then eliminated by the No.1 ranked Azusa Pacific University Cougars.

  • SFU, as ever, kept the sports media up to speed on SFU stories, including:
    • The retirement decision of Kathleen Stoody, Clan and Canadian national team swimmer. The Vancouver Sun and New Westminster Record ran items.
    • The selection of Clan soccer senior Luca Bellisomo as First Team NAIA All-American. Bellisomo is also Region I player of the year and was a captain on Team Canada at the 2007 Summer Universiade Games in Bangkok. The Vancouver Sun quickly ran the story.
    • The naming of Bellisomo, Lucas Barrett and Josh Bennett to the All-Tournament team at the 2007 NAIA National Championship.

  • Maclean's magazine looked at the possibility of SFU, UBC and other Canadian universities joining the big-time U.S. National Collegiate Athletic Association.  "As to how many universities are looking south, we’ll find out in the new year—when Canadian schools are expected to be able to submit formal applications to the NCAA."


  • CBC-TV’s Ian Hanomansing said of SFU’s office of Public Affairs and Media Relations (PAMR): “You guys are so often ahead of the news, anticipating what stories we’ll be working on and giving us experts and background just when we’re beginning to wonder who we might use.”
    And PAMR was in there again this week, offering and recommending SFU experts before the media began to do their stories.  For example, as the Pickton serial-murder trial went to the jury, PAMR offered a list of nine experts on related issues.

  • SFU’s dean of health science, John O’Neil, agreed to be available to media to talk about the attempted suicide of seven people within one week in Hazelton BC. He has published more than 120 papers and reports on aboriginal health issues, and is currently co-investigating suicide risk factors and prevention tactics to combat high suicide rates in Manitoba’s aboriginal communities.

  • PAMR told media about winners of SFU’s 2007 Outstanding Alumni Awards: Mark Jaccard, SFU professor, author, and researcher; David Granville, associate professor and Canada Research Chair with St. Paul's Hospital-UBC; Elaine Gallagher, director of the Centre on Aging at UVic; and Alison Lawton, executive director, Mindset Media, who is raising $25 million to combat HIV/AIDS in children in Africa and elsewhere.

  • We also told media about a new environmental education planning guide whose lead author is David Zandvliet of Education. (We mentioned he lives on Bowen Island, and the Bowen Island Undercurrent promptly started on a story.)

  • And we spread the word about the 2007 Spry lecture: Karol Jakubowicz, international expert in broadcasting, speaks on public service broadcasting in post-Communist states. (It takes place Thursday, Nov. 29, 7 pm, 515 West Hastings St., Vancouver. Reservations: 778.782.5100 or e-mail

SFU’s news releases can be found online at:


  • Wrapping up The Vancouver Sun's week-long series on Simon Fraser's expedition down the Fraser River, writer Stephen Hume visited Fraser's burial place at St. Andrew's West ON. "The burial ground is being restored. . . . Funds for the restoration were raised by the Cornwall Township Historical Society, grants from the Ontario government, the Hudson's Bay Company History Foundation and Simon Fraser University."

  • Canadian Underwriter magazine noted that Zurich Canada is working with SFU’s new Adaptation to Climate Change Team to examine options for adaptation to extreme weather events caused by climate change.

  • The Edmonton Journal dusted off, and ran, a Province feature from October 7 on second-year SFU student “B.B.”—who was used by The Province as an example of people who post personal information on the web—to the point of “hanging it all out online.”

  • The Edmonton Journal also ran a two-week old  Province feature on a new Vancouver “Performance Posture clinic”. Among those quoted was Anna-Kristina Arnold, an ergonomics lecturer with SFU’s kinesiology department.

  • The Financial Post section of National Post featured as  a small-business success Vancouver-based Sliced Tomatoes, a ready-to-cook meal service. It began life as entry from Hanson Ho and Greg Lam in a business-plan class at SFU. It now provides ingredients and cooking instructions for healthy, gourmet meals, delivered to people's homes.  "Home-cookin' without the shoppin' or choppin'."

  • The City of Burnaby named 20 “Local Heroes” from among people who volunteer to serve the community. They included Patrice Pratt, who has been involved with the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion for the past seven years. Pratt has also been involved with the United Way, the SFU board of governors and the Simon Fraser University Foundation.

  • The Victoria Times Colonist carried a feature on Maria Tippett, the premier biographer of Canadian artists. In the 1970s she taught at SFU, the paper noted, and thus presented seminars with the likes of Robert Davidson, Jack Shadbolt, Toni Onley and Gordon Smith.
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