SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - December 7th, 2007

December 7, 2007

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A look at how SFU and its people fared in the news media: November 30 - December 7, 2007                     

SFU got coverage at home and abroad during the week as a VIP trip to India included the signing by President Michael Stevenson of three agreements with Indian institutions.

SFU criminologists were widely quoted on developments at the Robert Pickton serial murder trial.

But the most widely used story was an Associated Press feature on the possibility of SFU joining the U.S. NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) in 2009. It ran in more than 50 U.S. and Canadian media outlets.

More on these stories below.


  • Travelling in India (with a group that includes SFU VIPs) Premier Gordon Campbell was asked by GlobalTV what a Memorandum of Understanding is. He promptly gave as an example SFU’s new MOU covering an Indian village life improvement project—a partnership of SFU, the Indo-Canadian Friendship Society of BC and the Village Life Improvement Foundation in Chandigarh, India. The arrangement will provide SFU students with learning, cooperative education and volunteer opportunities.

    Daily and reported: “Simon Fraser University will help India produce research pioneers and public health professionals; and combat infectious diseases, thanks to two agreements signed today as part of Premier Gordon Campbell's mission to Asia.” online magazine also carried the story.
    Earlier, reported from Chandigarh that a group of 20 BC education VIPs visited Panjab University. The group included from SFU President Michael Stevenson, research VP Mario Pinto, and John O’Neil, dean of Health Sciences.

    See our earlier news release on SFU’s India foray at:
    And the BC government issued on Tuesday its own release on the India trip:


  • The Vancouver Sun reported how SFU business students are proving to be better money managers than investment professionals.

    Since 2003, they have achieved an impressive average annual return of 13.2 per cent on the university's student-managed endowment fund, now standing at $10 million. "They have beaten big brother a little bit," said SFU treasurer Jim Boyd.

    MBA student Jenn Jule was also quoted: “Many business schools only offer a hypothetical portfolio. You dig deeper when it's real money."
  • Christy Clark on CKNW and Belle Puri on CBC Radio’s On the Coast showinterviewed SFU economist Krishna Pendakur, co-director of the Metropolis British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Diversity. This on Census Canada’s latest figures in Canada’s immigrant population.

  • GlobalTV did a segment with public policy prof Doug McArthur about the announcement by BC Finance Minister Carole Taylor that she won’t seek re-election‑and the suggestion that she may run for mayor of Vancouver.

  • Communication prof Catherine Murray invited ethnic media to the Burnaby campus to unveil her new study on B.C.’s multicultural media. Stories and photos appeared this week in Sing Tao, a Chinese-market daily, and in the Korea Daily (Joongang Ilbo), the Korean paper Vancouver Chosun and the English-language Asian Pacific Post.

  • The Nelson Daily News did an advance story on a presentation there on Hydro rates by prof John Calvert. "Electricity rates are going to go through the roof down the road because we're paying so much money for such expensive energy. . . . We'll be looking at six or eight or maybe 10 per cent rate increases year by year from now on.”

    Several media outlets featured a campaign by SFU student Ari Mensurian to preserve an Arthur Erickson-designed West Vancouver home whose owner planned to demolish it. The David Graham house, built in 1963, helped launch Erickson's reputation. Mensurian said he was prepared to chain himself to the property and lie in the path of a bulldozer to save the house, which he called an "important Canadian cultural icon." He was on GlobalTV (locally and nationally), CBC Radio, CTV, CH-TV Victoria and in The Province and the North Shore News. And on GlobalTV National, Lee Gavel, SFU’s Chief Facility Officer and University Architect, talked about the house and Erickson's architectural legacy. (Which, of course, includes the Burnaby campus.)

  • Surrey Now and the North Shore Outlook carried the annual list of hi-tech toys for Christmas, compiled by Toby Donaldson of the School of Computing Science. It’s at:

    The Victoria Times Colonist reported on a program to restore kelp beds in the Strait of Georgia. Quoted was Louis Druehl, SFU professor, Bamfield Marine Station lecturer, and president of Canadian Kelp Resources Ltd.

    Communication prof Robert Hackett was in the Georgia Straight on the “unintended censorship effect” of New Westminster council’s plan (now deferred) to ban street boxes carrying free newspapers (such as the Straight).

    The Vancouver Courier reported that SFU communication student Karen Fung has organized a "Transit Camp," tentatively scheduled for Dec. 8. Described as an "un-conference," the event will accommodate 100 participants who will discuss transit issues. Fung attended a similar event in Toronto in February.

    The Boundary Bulletin in Grand Forks BC picked up last week’s SFU news release on Urs Ribary joining SFU as the Leadership Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience in Childhood Health and Development.


  • Following last week’s Russian election, The Globe and Mail carried a guest feature from Nicole Jackson, international studies prof at SFU, saying Canadians need to heed what’s happening in Russia and the former Soviet states. “Moscow's soft—and hard—power is increasing in the region. . . . Canada needs to wake up, pay close attention, and engage more with these pivotal states.”

  • Columnist Vaughn Palmer in The Vancouver Sun broke the story that the BC government has engaged SFU prof Mark Jaccard’s firm, M.L. Jaccard and Associates, to handle an economic modelling contract for the new provincial climate change secretariat. Just last month Premier Gordon Campbell named Jaccard as "special adviser" to the government’s climate action team.

    Earlier in the week, CanWest News Service carried a newsfeature on Jaccard's arguments for a carbon tax—as spelled out in a publication from the C.D. Howe Institute last week: Designing Canada's Low-Carb Diet: Options for Effective Climate Policy.

    "His scenario paints Canada as an overweight individual who has stuffed in the poutine and doughnuts while debating what his or her weight-loss goal should be, rather than taking steps to lose weight." We saw the feature in The Vancouver Sun, The Province, the Victoria Times-Colonist, the Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, and the Alaska Highway News. (The publication referred to is Jaccard’s Howe Institute lecture of last week, available as a PDF at:

    Meanwhile, the Regina Leader-Post picked up a feature from CanWest News Service that reviewed the recent book Hot Air: Meeting Canada's Climate Change Challenge, by Jaccard, SFU researcher Nic Rivers, and Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson.

    And the Georgia Straight noted that Jaccard and public policy prof Jon Kesselman were among 70 BC economists who, in an open letter to BC Finance Minister Carole Taylor, urged a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

  • CBC-TV’s Marketplace program interviewed marketing prof Lindsay Meredith. And he was also on CKWX News 1130 as it did a story on lead, cadmium and arsenic showing up in toys, and listed some “safe” toys.

    A Canadian Press feature on the "community", whose members offer up their homes to travellers from all around the world as part of social networking, got a second run this week in half a dozen Eastern papers. The story quoted Andrew Feenberg, SFU communication prof and editor of the book Community in the Digital Age.

  • CTV carried on Canada AM an interview with communications manager Terry Lavender of the Surrey campus about his online game, Homeless: It’s NO Game. (


  • Psychology lecturer Gordon Rose was on national news programs on both CTV (Canada AM) and CBC-TV (Canada Now and The National), talking about the difficulties jurors have in understanding a judge’s instructions on points of law. (This in the context of the Robert Pickton serial-murder trial.)

    “We have attempted to test juror comprehension in many ways. We ask them if they can tell us what the judge told them about the law. We will show them statements of law from the instructions, or not, and ask them to pick out the ones they've seen. We can ask them to apply the instructions in a given fact situation. No matter how we measure it, they are unable to show an understanding of the legal instructions.”

    Rose was also on CBC Radio, saying jurors in the Pickton trial could face stress-related disorders in the future. He said it's a difficult subject to study, though, because in Canada jurors are barred from talking about what brought them to a verdict—and the law also prohibits them from talking to counsellors or mental health professionals about what happened.
    Rose was also interviewed on CKNW (twice) and in The Province. The latter’s story also ran in the Victoria Times Colonist, Calgary Herald and Ottawa Citizen.
  • As the judge in the Pickton trial briefly suspended jury deliberations on Thursday, so he could correct an error in his legal instructions to jurors, criminologist Rob Gordon was in The Vancouver Sun and on CBC Radio’s national World Report. He saidthe judge made the right decision—triggered by a question from the jury. "Judges don't make mistakes like that very often. When they do and fail to address the errors, it's often grounds for appeal."

    In the same story, fellow criminologist David MacAlister said the question by the jury, and the subsequent suspension of deliberations, shows jurors were doing their job.

    In The Province, MacAlister said: "Hopefully [the judge] caught the mistakes early enough, but the charge from a judge to jury is one of the most fertile grounds for appeal.”
    Earlier, MacAlister was on GlobalTV talking about the trial and the jury's task. He also spoke to 24 Hours.

    As well, criminologist Neil Boyd was in a Vancouver Sun story, saying the Pickton case has shone a spotlight on the vulnerability of sex workers. He recalled that police in 1998 rejected the idea that a serial killer was possibly preying on women in the Downtown Eastside.

    The Toronto Star interviewed former Vancouver police officer Kim Rossmo, who developed a system of geographic profiling at SFU while a graduate student who also worked for Vancouver police. He came to believe in the 1990s that a serial killer was at work, but police dismissed it.


  • The Province carried a Sunday feature on a poll it conducted finding that, among other things, 95 per cent of respondents think the court system is doing a poor or very poor job of deterring criminals. But it quoted criminologist Neil Boyd as saying poor performance ratings for government and the courts often arise from a lack of knowledge.

    "When people spend time in courts . . . and they watch individual cases and how judges have to balance competing interests, they often are even more lenient than the leniency that they describe. I think that comes from not understanding how difficult the choices are."

    In an editorial later, The Province insisted: “We think ordinary, taxpaying folks are often smarter than academics and other pundits give them credit for. . . . It's high time those in authority listened to them.”

  • Boyd was quoted as the Victoria Times Colonist looked at the operations of the Victoria Police Board, and other local police boards in BC. Said he: “Boards are appointed for their independence and it should be made clear they are to engage in an open and critical process. And I don't think that happens very often.”

    In the same story, Rob Gordon, director of criminology at SFU and a former police officer himself, said such boards are often guilty of rubber-stamping the decisions they should be scrutinizing. Gordon said it's "appalling" that appointments to the police board are political.

  • The Nanaimo Daily News wrote about the use by citizens of the Internet to shame men caught roaming the streets for illegal sex or to warn neighbours of convicted criminals living next door. Communication prof Richard Smith was quoted: “The risk I see is that people can kind of go overboard, not that they are doing something bad, but they go too far . . . and if they do go overboard they'll probably get caught and be punished for it."


  • The Vancouver Sun used an SFU news release on the shooting of the movie Personal Effects on the Burnaby campus last week. Said the Sun:

    “Gifts come in many shapes and colours. Simon Fraser University wrestlers have been a godsend to producer Raymond Massey who is shooting a film called Personal Effects on Burnaby Mountain. It stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Ashton Kutcher and Kathy Bates.

    Says Massey: "These guys have been instrumental in helping us to train our guys as wrestlers, create competition sequences and act like real wrestlers."

    The Sun noted Massey was an SFU business grad in 1983. He is also the son of Geoffrey Massey, who co-designed the original SFU campus buildings with architect Arthur Erickson. And it continued:
    “SFU assistant wrestling coach Justin Abdou plays a referee. SFU wrestler Stephen Dunlop plays a wrestler, in other words himself. Ten SFU varsity and alumni wrestlers are extras in the movie, in which Vancouver doubles as Pittsburgh. All sorts of venues on the SFU campus have been turned into scenes for the movie. Exciting times on the mountain.”

  • 24 Hours noted that movie heartthrob Kutcher was spotted “looking downright mature, and almost distinguished in shirt and tie” while filming at the Burnaby campus. “Michelle Pfeiffer was also spotted on set at SFU.” And The Province’s movie page mentioned that Kutcher filmed scenes with SFU wrestlers as extras.

    CBC Radio’s On the Coast show interviewed coach Abdou to talk about the movie. (The producer later said his interview was “excellent”.) More on the movie shoot in our news release, at:

  • Vietnamese media Vietnam News, VietnamNet, Nhan Dan and Thanh Nien Daily reported on afashion-and-photography exhibition in Hanoi, featuring work of Adrian Buitenhuis. The news services noted he’s completing a Master of Fine Arts at SFU. He’s the son of Ann Cowan, executive director of the Vancouver campus, and the late Peter Buitenhuis, professor emeritus of English.

  • The Vancouver Courier reported on the Downtown Memory Project at SFU’s Writing and Publishing Program: Anyone can submit a written, visual or audio memory about a downtown building, street, person or neighbourhood that is or was significant to them. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 4. Alumni writers from SFU's Writer's Studio will judge the submissions. (Details at

  • The Georgia Straight reviewed the exhibition of Julie Mehretu's “Reflexive Drawings”, at the SFU Gallery until Dec. 15.

  • Trinidad and Tobago's Newsday Online picked up a syndicated feature about David Chariandy, SFU English prof, and his novel Soucoyant.
  • A New York Times story from last week—that mentioned how Steven Brown of SFU’s psychology department taught the hora in an impromptu gig at a U.S. conference—turned up this week in the Taipei Times in Taiwan.

  • A Province preview of the Return of the Spice Girls World Tour, which launched in Vancouver last weekend, was picked up by the Calgary Herald. Martin Laba, director of SFU’s School of Communication, was quoted on “girl power”.

  • The Province featured a children’s book of stories written by Adam Katagiri, a commercial pilot and SFU grad, who died in a crash in Jordan three years ago. His parents have started to publish his writings. The stories are illustrated by Adam’s father, Sadao Katagiri.


  • The Vancouver Sun's employment pages featured the MITACS internship program that connects businesses across Canada with university expertise to conduct important research. Arvind Gupta, scientific director of SFU-based MITACS, said: "Students are leaving the province because they can't find research positions and companies aren't doing enough research. We thought we'd bring the two [industry and academia] together to show the companies their value and show the student what kinds of things companies are doing, so they'd stay in the province."
    The story was then sent across the country by CanWest News Service.

  • Vancouver-based Asian Pacific Post 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. And she was on CBC’s Radio Canada International, too.

  • The Dawson Creek Daily News covered graduation celebrations of the Alaska Highway Consortium of Teacher Education. That's partnership of SFU, Northern Lights College, School Districts 59, 60, 81, and the BC Teachers Federation.


  • The Associated Press carried a feature on the possibility of Canadian universities joining the NCAA:

    “Schools such as the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University see the full scholarships that would come with NCAA membership as a boon to Canadian residents who currently come to the U.S. to pursue their athletic dreams.

    “Other schools and officials in Canadian Interuniversity Sport, the country's governing body for athletics, see a ploy for publicity that will end up with the schools being unable to compete financially and returning to their roots.

    “The process likely will begin in January, when Division II is expected to approve a 10-year pilot program that would allow a limited number of international schools, most expected to be Canadian, to become NCAA members.

    “Six Canadian schools have discussed NCAA membership and four have shown interest. Only UBC, SFU and the University of Alberta in Edmonton have gone public about their interest, with UBC and SFU primed to become NCAA members as early as 2009."

    We saw the story in more than 50 U.S. and Canadian media outlets.

  • SFU’s Athletics department spread the word to media that our departing head soccer coach, Dave Elligott, was named the 2007 NSCAA/NAIA northwest region coach of the year. (Last week Elligott announced his resignation from SFU to pursue a career in international finance. That story appeared in this week’s North Shore News.)

  • Coquitlam Now picked up SFU’s news release of last week on 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 North Shore News reported that local boxer Nathan Kulczycki won all three of his bouts in the 69-kilogram division to earn his first Canadian championship after fighting at the national level for almost a decade. Kulczycki is graduating from SFU this month with a degree in business administration.


  • In a letter in the New Westminster Record, prof emeritus Gary Mauser expressed "my pleasant surprise that Dawn Black, our NDP MP, supports the criminal justice policies of the Conservative Party. " But, he added: "There is one small terminological confusion. She refers to 'gun crime' when she must have meant 'criminal violence.' It's not the gun that must be arrested and sentenced to tougher sentences; it's the violent criminal. Surely she knows that there are as many homicides committed with knives as with guns in Canada."

  • In a letter in The Vancouver Sun, undergraduate biology student Brett Favaro said arguments against the dangers of climate change are based primarily on attacks against the scientists who devote their lives to studying the global ecosystem. “If even one-quarter of the predictions come true, is that not worth addressing?”


  • The Georgia Straight wrote about the "mortgage-helper" suites-within-suites at UniverCity. "It's a no-brainer," geography prof Mark Roseland said. “We have a housing crisis in the region, and this is a clear way at minimum cost to everyone to provide more housing."

  • The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business featured an Eric Reguly column on the Markit Group, “probably London's fastest-growing financial services firm.” Its CEO is Lance Uggla, an SFU grad, the paper noted. “His Markit holding is worth $240 million and could double or triple if the heady growth rates continue.”

  • The Vancouver Courier featured Crabtree Corner, an emergency and transitional housing complex for women and children in the Downtown Eastside. Among those featured was counsellor Lisa Yellow-Quill. "We all have some lessons we need to learn. For one, we really have to start talking about . . . why women are drinking and using, and what we can do about it. It is possible to stop. I did it, and my next challenge is to go to SFU and get my doctorate. I'm going to be Dr. Yellow-Quill. I know I can do it."

  • The Victoria Times Colonist picked up an SFU news release on the selection of Elaine Gallagher, a director of the Centre on Aging at the University of Victoria as one of four recipients of SFU's Outstanding Alumni Awards.

  • Conservative MP James Moore (Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam) told constituents in his newsletter about the new National Chair in Autism Research and Intervention at SFU, which is funded in part by the federal government. It was announced in October.

SFU’s news releases can be found online at:

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