SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS November 30, 2007

November 30, 2007

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A look at how SFU and its people fared in the news media: Nov. 23-30, 2007                 


  • Sometimes, all it takes is one good quote . . . .
  • When marketing prof Lindsay Meredith used “Pokemon modern” to label VANOC’s plush-toy mascots for the 2010 Winter Olympics, it was a big hit with media across the country and blogs around the world.
    Meredith juggled a string of media calls Nov. 27 after VANOC unveiled the furry mascots. He did 11 interviews that day (GlobalTV live, then CTV National live, CTV local, CTV evening national, CTV International, CBC Radio, The Province, CKWX, CKNW, The Vancouver Sun, 24Hours) and three more on Nov. 28. The Canadian Press and Broadcast News moved his comments to media outlets from coast to coast—and they were heavily used.
    Said Broadcast News:  “According to Lindsay Meredith, mascots Sumi, Quatchi and Miga are Pokemon modern. The Simon Fraser University marketing professor says it's difficult to sell something that needs explaining. He says the sea bear, sasquatch and spirit animal all need explaining. However Meredith notes Olympic rings on a product always help something sell.”
    On the same story, marketing prof Judy Zaichkowsky was interviewed by CBC Radio.
  • The Globe and Mail reported that BCE Inc. shareholders are being offered a tax-relief option when the telephone company goes private next year: donate their shares to non-profits such as SFU. The story noted: “Simon Fraser University, which broached the idea of BCE donations in a newsletter it recently sent to 16,000 alumni, has received about $45,000 in BCE stock donations this year, according to Doug Puffer, director of planned giving.” The Chronicle of Higher Education also carried a story.
  • Economist Nancy Olewiler, director of the public policy program at SFU, was a co-author of a guest column in the Globe and Mail that hailed departing B.C. Finance Minister Carole Taylor's idea of introducing a carbon tax as "probably the single most effective step B.C. could take toward achieving the major cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions that Premier Gordon Campbell has promised."
  • Meanwhile, columnist Terence Corcoran, in the Financial Post section of National Post, proposed carbon taxes are a dead issue—political roadkill. He argued that even SFU energy prof Mark Jaccard, long a proponent of carbon taxes, is "moving on to other options"—as evidenced by Jaccard's discussion of them in his C.D. Howe Benefactors Lecture in Toronto this week. In his lecture, Jaccard said that if politicians don't have the will to implement a carbon tax, policies should be modified to ensure that they approximate the effectiveness and economic efficiency of such a tax.

The Montreal Gazette’s list of books to give as Christmas gifts included Hot Air: Meeting Canada's Climate Change Challenge, co-authored by Jaccard and Nic Rivers of SFU, and Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson.

  • The Globe and Mail carried a feature on how giving foods as gifts is exploding this season. Dianne Cyr, business prof at SFU’s Surrey campus, and a specialist in online commerce, was quoted: “Our country is becoming increasingly enamoured with food as a social and recreational activity, and some of this is translating into food gift-giving."
  • Maclean's magazine dismissed a UNICEF report that says "Child poverty is a persistent problem in Canada." Maclean's said UNICEF's statistics are bad or, worse, deliberately misrepresented.  It quoted public policy prof John Richards as saying UNICEF's use of before-tax income numbers is "bizarre".
  • Also in Maclean's, a  business column looked at "ethical investment". It quoted Mark Wexler, professor of business ethics. "The debate over what is and what isn't virtuous changes over time. The notion of obesity just got put on the virtue map, where it wasn't there seven years ago." So, asked Maclean's: "Does that mean McDonald's is a no go? How about Tim Hortons?"
  • The Smithsonian Magazine looked at “the rich”, and some examples of extreme selfishness on their part. Among those quoted is SFU archeologist Brian Hayden, whose research included interviews with people in Mayan villages about how their leaders had helped out during droughts and famines. "I was completely blown away by the results. Instead of helping the community, people in power took advantage to sell food at exorbitant prices, or they hoarded food and wouldn't share it, or they used food in trade to take over land."
  • Even farther afield, Russia’s Pravda boldly insisted: “It turns out that sex hormones rule over women’s brains. . . . Women become smarter and nicer only for seven days of their monthly cycle.” It quoted psychologist Charles Crawford, SFU prof emeritus: “Her senses including hearing, vision, smell, her skin sensitivity, logic and emotions can either worsen or intensify during menstruation.”
  • The Vancouver Sun featured three brothers who have developed a DVD offering a virtual tour of the country's top 20 universities. Of SFU it says: “Although students caution you against the cold and grey winter months, a nice summer day or just some beautiful weather can literally make you feel like you're on top of the world. Whether you come for proximity to home, its strong academics or innovative programs—or you actually like the unique architecture—then check out Simon Fraser University." The story also ran in the Ottawa Citizen.
  • The Canadian Press featured the "community", whose members offer up their homes to travellers from all around the world as part of the social networking website. CP quoted Andrew Feenberg, communication prof and editor of the book Community in the Digital Age.
  • Arizona State University News reported on the new Megapolitan Tourism Research Center at ASU in downtown Phoenix. It quoted Peter Williams, director of the SFU Centre for Tourism Policy and Research.
  • The Calgary Herald picked up a guest column from international relations prof Alexander Moens on the Security and Prosperity Partnership launched by the United States, Canada, and Mexico in 2005.
  • And on a trip east, communications manager Terry Lavender of the Surrey campus was interviewed by four Quebec media outlets about his online game, Homeless: It’s NO Game.  (


  • The Vancouver Sun picked up an SFU news release on how SFU is the first Canadian university to partner with India on a faculty development and research program.

SFU president Michael Stevenson will join Premier Gordon Campbell and 60 BC post-secondary education representatives Dec. 1 - 7 on a mission to India. Stevenson will sign a memorandum of understanding between the faculty of health sciences and Indian institutions, including the Public Health Foundation of India.

  • Burnaby Now carried a story and photo on 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. Asian-Pacific Post also pursued the story.
  • As well, Burnaby Now picked up an SFU news release on how physics undergrad Joel Zylberberg is the sole Canadian winner of this year's Fulbright International Science and Technology Award for PhD study.
  • The Province picked up an SFU release on the election of economics prof Arthur Robson as one of only 10 Canadian Fellows of the Econometric Society. Robson is a Canada Research Chair in Economic Theory and Evolution at SFU.
  • The Province also reported that “an online food fight has broken out at Simon Fraser University, where an in-your-face Facebook campaign is aimed at improving the campus food services. More than 500 SFU students have gone online to protest the service provided by Chartwells, the educational division of Goliath Compass Group Canada, which offers contracted food service to a variety of industries.”
  • Burnaby Now reported that Nancy Forde, assistant professor of physics, is one of 10 people across Canada to receive a 2007 Cottrell Scholar Award with an attached $100,000 research grant. "Forde's research focuses on how force changes the behaviour of collagen molecules found in bones, tendons, skin, cartilage and teeth. . . . Her work may serve to explain how human tissue deteriorates with age."
  • Burnaby Now also reported that Burnaby Hospital has reduced in-hospital hip fractures from 14 in 2003/2004 to three in 2006/2007. Quoted was Fabio Feldman, manager of seniors' falls and injury prevention for Fraser Health Authority. He is finishing his kinesiology PhD at SFU, the paper noted.
  • The Fernie (BC) Free Press, in its Outdoors column, wondered if the outdoors is much more hazardous than driving to work.  Pascal Haegeli, social science prof and risk analyst, said: "It's really difficult to compare directly." Haegeli helped develop the Avaluator—a checklist to help backcountry skiers evaluate avalanche risk.
  • Burnaby Now also reported that BC government Pacific Leaders graduate student fellowships have been awarded to four SFU students: Nikki Astofooroff, master's student in SFU's resource and environmental management program; Linda Cummings, working on a master's in gerontology; Brittany Dixon-Bingham, master's studies in health sciences and population and public health; and Heather Osachoff,  master's in biology.
  • The Vancouver Sun featured a new "eco-kit" that is going to all BC schools in the hope of spreading the “green” message. The lead author of the new environmental education planning guide is prof David Zandvliet of SFU Education. The Bowen Island Undercurrent also carried a story.
  • Surrey Now carried a photo of kids showing off their robot-building skills at SFU’s Surrey campus as the campus played host to the Fraser Valley FIRST Lego League Challenge. Teams representing 10 Lower Mainland schools participated.
  • The Surrey Leader did a story on an interactive art project, Voicing the Mosaic, done by first-year students at the Surrey campus. Surrey Now promoted the event, too. 
  • A guest column in the Prince George Citizen, on the transitions faced by students, quoted Natalee Popadiuk of SFU Education, and Chris Rogerson of SFU Student Services.
  • The Nelson Daily News and the Kootenay Western Star covered a “Future of Food in the Kootenays” conference. Herb Barbolet of the Centre for Sustainable Community Development at SFU was quoted.
  • The Burnaby News Leader reported last week’s appointment of energy guru Mark Jaccard, former chair of the B.C. Utilities Commission, as special adviser to the BC government on climate action. So did the Victoria News, Oak Bay News, Parksville-Qualicum Beach News, Nanaimo News Bulletin, Peace Arch News, Maple Ridge News, Kamloops This Week, and Williams Lake Tribune.
  • The Vancouver Island Business Examiner quoted public policy prof Marvin Schaffer on the B.C. government's plans to make BC energy self-sufficient by 2016. He said it will "artificially increase" the market for independent power projects. The story also ran in the Tri-City News, Parksville-Qualicum Beach News, Saanich Peninsula News Review, and the Arrow Lakes News.
  • BCIT’s student radio news crew interviewed SFU’s dean of health science, John O’Neil, about the attempted suicides of seven people within one week in Hazelton BC. He is co-investigating suicide risk factors and prevention tactics in Manitoba’s aboriginal communities.
  • SFU’s office of Public Affairs and Media Relations sent out the annual list of hi-tech toys for Christmas, compiled by Toby Donaldson of the School of Computing Science. It’s at:

SFU’s news releases can be found online at:


  • Maclean's magazine explored whether Canada really needs more police, and whether having more police brings down the crime rate. Rob Gordon, director of SFU’s school of criminology, was quoted as saying more officers are often needed—although not mainly to reduce crime. More police, he says, would improve both the safety of officers and the security of those apprehended. But more police means more arrests, and thus “the reported crime rate goes up.'"
  • Gordon was also back in the news this week as municipal politicians mulled over his calls (and a push from Kash Heed, an SFU grad who is West Vancouver’s police chief) for an amalgamated regional police force.

Gordon said in the Surrey North Delta Leader that ad-hoc teams of police “do not work" and amalgamation is the answer. The story also appeared in the Burnaby News Leader, Tri-City News, Richmond Review, and Maple Ridge News.
Meanwhile, criminologist David MacAlister was quoted in The Province as saying ad-hoc integrated task forces make for "good compromises," but are a poor substitute for police officers working together as part of a coherent team.

  • Gordon was also quoted in the North Shore News on formation of a new street team to target known gang members. “(The new unit) is a public relations move. Police are under extreme pressure to respond to the (recent) retaliatory shootings."
  • And the Nanaimo Harbour Star quoted Gordon on the police seizure of the Nanaimo Hells Angel's clubhouse. ""They have gone after one clubhouse, seized it and that's it. They've done nothing more, they've made no related arrests. No attempt to place any of the members of Nanaimo Hells Angels on trial."
  • The Ottawa Citizen quoted criminologist Ray Corrado on female-to-female violence, a story sparked by the stabbing death of an 18-year-old female, allegedly by another 18-year-old female.
  • The Globe and Mail looked at how Canada's police are urging the federal government to require the marking of all imported firearms. It quoted retired prof Gary Mauser, who sits on Ottawa’s firearms advisory committee. Mauser was also on Fairchild TV and spoke to the Sing Tao newspaper.

The Penticton Western News cited research on crime rates by Mauser. This in an editorial asking: “Has our society deteriorated to the point where police justify the use of Tasers in a losing battle against the criminal element in our society?”

  • Surrey Now reported that city has earmarked $300,000 for security cameras, and is working with the Surrey RCMP and researchers at SFU to identify the most effective places to install them.


  • We mentioned last week that literature prof and author David Chariandy had been the subject of three major features in Canadian papers. Make that four: National Post also featured him last week.

And the Chariandy features continued: This week,  the Ottawa Citizen did its own feature.  And, by way of CanWest News Service, the Montreal Gazette’s story of last week was reproduced in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and the Calgary Herald
Chariandy’s novel, Soucoyant, was in the running for a Governor General's Literary Award this week—but the $25,000 prize went to  Michael Ondaatje for his novel Divisadero.

  • The Province previewed the Return of the Spice Girls World Tour that launches in Vancouver on Sunday. Martin Laba, director of the School of Communication, was quoted on “girl power”. The story also ran in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and the Ottawa Citizen and as far afield as the Halifax Daily News.
  • The Vancouver Sun carried a feature on the restoration and reopening of  Cinema 319 (at 319 Main Street), the former Golden Harvest Chinese movie theatre. The story also mentioned that “there will also be a theatre in Simon Fraser University's School for the Contemporary Arts on the Woodward's site.”
  • Vancouver Sun columnist Doug Todd (a former Shadbolt Fellow at SFU) wrote a feature about hip-hop artist Nadia Chaney, a Vancouver poet/performer for whom hip-hop takes on a spiritual tone. “I've seen Chaney—part poet, animator and public intellectual—do her hip-hop thing at events linked to Simon Fraser University's Wosk Centre for Dialogue.”
  • Speaking of dance, a New York Times writer reported on a symposium at the University of Michigan on the evolutionary value of art: “For me the high point came when a neurobiologist taught us how to dance the hora.” The teacher: Steven Brown of SFU’s psychology department. The Times story also turned up in, of all places, the Yukon Daily News.
  • Closer to home, the Vancouver’s Playhouse Theatre Company named Max Reimer as artistic managing-director, replacing Glynis Leyshon. Reimer is artistic director at Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton. The Vancouver Sun noted he received an honours degree in sociology and economics at SFU.


  • SFU Athletics let media know about the resignation this week of Dave Elligott as SFU men’s soccer head coach. Elligott will finish out the fall semester, then embark on a new career in international finance, based in Honolulu. He guided the Clan to an impressive 82-32-9 record during seven seasons.
  • We also spread the word about the selection of three Clan women’s soccer players to the NAIA Region I women’s soccer All-Region team—and the naming of head coach Shelley Howieson as Region I Coach of the Year.  The three players: Jacqueline Gant, Cassie Newbrook and Lauren Lachlan.
  • The Calgary Herald, covering a controversy over whether wearing a hijab poses risk to a soccer player, quoted Stephen Brown, senior lecturer in kinesiology at SFU, as saying the chances of any significant injury are remote.
  • Ex-Clan footballer Luca Congi booted three field goals for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and became a Grey Cup winner last Sunday. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, on the other end of the 23-19 score, had three SFU players on the roster: defensive tackle Doug Brown, offensive lineman Ibrahim Khan and linebacker Neil McKinlay. 
  • The Province reported that Vancouver's entry into a Canada-wide contest to promote the next Olympic sport has failed to make the podium. SFU student Jesse Meredith suggested bocce ball, but lost to a Calgary entrant who proposed water skiing.
  • The North Shore News picked up last week’s news release from SFU Athletics on the retirement decision of Kathleen Stoody, Clan and Canadian national team swimmer.



  • A Vancouver Sun story on the hunt for long lost papers of the explorer Simon Fraser and his associates mentioned that “Simon Fraser University has a few letters and family notes.”
  •  The Globe and Mail twice interviewed architect Arthur Erickson about his latest project: The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton in Vancouver. No prize for guessing which university campus was also mentioned in the stories.
  • The Vancouver Sun told readers about the discovery of the original painted store signs at the old Woodward’s store in Vancouver. And mentioned that, as part of the Woodward’s redevelopment, “Simon Fraser University's School for Contemporary Art will move into the new Hastings building. . . .  The towers are currently going up at about a floor a week.”
  • The Saskatoon StarPhoenix featuredSaskatoon writer Jason Schoonover is a member of The Explorers Club, and author of a new book on explorers, Adventurous Dreams, Adventurous Lives. He got an English literature degree at SFU, the paper noted.
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