SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - Dec. 13-17, 2010

December 17, 2010

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Media Matters, a report on Simon Fraser University in the news, is compiled and distributed by SFU Public Affairs & Media Relations. (PAMR). This weekly edition covers media coverage from Dec. 13 to Dec. 17.


New documents show 21 B.C. Ferries employees each earned more than $200,000 in salary, including president David Hahn, who pulled in $984,248. SFU marketing expert Lindsay Meredith told Canadian Press that B.C. Ferries’ decision to determine salaries by comparing private and public sector remuneration data won’t go over well with taxpayers.
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SFU political scientist Marjorie Griffin Cohen told News1130 that women have a harder time in politics because they’re out-numbered by men. "There hasn't been a critical mass of women.  Whenever you have any job category where there is not a critical mass of women, then women are treated as separate and exceptional,” she said.
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The Surrey North Delta News Leader wrote a story about 40 first-year BusOne program students at the SFU campus who put their business creativity to test. Their efforts raised about $1,600 for The United Way.
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SFU biology research assistant Sofi Hindmarch is featured in a article about barn owls in Surrey. She is investigating whether the decline of Canada’s barn owl is partly connected to “super-toxic rat poisons.”
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WORKPLACE INNOVATION reported on a new study by SFU assistant business professor Stephanie Bertels that reviewed more than 13,000 academic and industry publications to examine existing best practices for workplace innovation. Her research “looks at the ways that executives can ensure their companies remain innovative long after they depart.”
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“Shame is an extremely toxic emotion,” SFU associate business professor Steve Kates told Time magazine in an article about what happens to branding when consumers turn on a product, service and, in some cases, a person.
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A paper by SFU biological sciences professor Leah Bendell, highlighting the growing health threat of high cadmium levels in shellfish, has received a lot of media attention. In The Vancouver Sun, she said “government and industry are putting economics ahead of public health when it comes to addressing the issue of cadmium levels in B.C. oysters.” Bendell advocates stronger guidelines for consumption. “It’s reached the point, enough already,” Bendell said. “Cadmium is becoming a global issue. It’s on the radar. It’s a concern. People should really know so they can make an informed choice.” The article was picked up by other Postmedia News papers, such as Ottawa Citizen, The Province, Edmonton Journal, and Victoria Times Colonist.
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“Drug ripoff retaliation” could be the motive behind a brazen gang shooting early Sunday morning that saw 10 people shot with an automatic weapon, SFU criminology director Rob Gordon told The Province. He spoke with several media outlets about the incident, including News1130 and Global TV.
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The Vancouver Sun wrote an article detailing the story of Ivy Bell, a first-year SFU health science student, who is attending school through the university’s Aboriginal Bridge program. There were many obstacles for Bell, who moved to Vancouver from Haida Gwaii.
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CTV News interviewed SFU humanities professor emeritus Don Grayston and SFU marketing expert Lindsay Meredith for a story about how the phrase, “Merry Christmas!” is making a comeback against political correctness.
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A new study suggests children who grow up in apartment buildings are more likely to inhale secondhand tobacco smoke than kids who live in detached homes, according to SFU’s Bruce Lanphear said if landlords don’t take action to create a smoke-free environment, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development might have to step in.
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Board games are making a comeback, according to the Burnaby NewsLeader. SFU marketing expert Lindsay Meredith said Christmas is the time of year when there’s an increase in the sales of board games.
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Last weekend’s gang shooting on Oak Street has renewed a call for regional and provincial police forces for B.C. Rob Gordon, director of SFU criminology, told CTV Vancouver the Ontario provincial police model is better than what B.C. currently employs.
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SFU professor emeritus Gary Mauser was a guest on CKNW’s The Bill Good Show today talking about gangs and guns. He argued “research shows that imprisoning serious violent offenders for longer periods reduces the homicide rate.” His second point was “there is no research support for restrictive gun laws. Homicide rates have increased in the U.K. since they banned handguns, but down in the U.S. where they both imprison violent offenders and encourage civilians to carry concealed handguns.”

The underlying issue in the escalation of gang violence in Metro Vancouver is the drug trade, SFU criminology director Rob Gordon told The Globe and Mail.
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Former B.C. attorney general Mike de Jong announced he advocates lowering the provincial voting age to 16. SFU marketing expert Lindsay Meredith said this is an attempt by the B.C. Liberal party leadership hopeful to differentiate him from the other candidates in the bid to be premier. Fairchild Radio, CBC-Radio, The Province, 24 Hours Vancouver, and AM 1320 all interviewed Meredith about this issue.


The Tri-City News wrote about a successful pilot program that involved SFU health sciences students working at a Port Coquitlam elementary school. Piper Chalke developed an innovative reading program incorporating her dog, Diesel. “… I had one little guy, for example, that was very anxious with reading and he worked with Piper and the little reading puppy, and not only did he learn how to be much more comfortable reading but he also overcame a fear of pets,” said Central elementary principal Nadine Tambellini. “And that was within a two-day span.”
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Lowering the provincial voting age to 16 years old may not be such a great idea for the B.C. Liberals, SFU marketing experting Lindsay Meredith told The Province. Responding to B.C. Liberal leadership candidate Mike de Jong’s announcement he would give teens to be more involved in the political process. "Younger people tend to be a little more left wing," said Meredith. "They have a strong sense of social justice and it could be the Liberals' worst nightmare." Canadian Press and AM 1150 (Kelowna) also interviewed him.
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Michael Boucher, director of cultural programs and partnerships for SFU Contemporary Arts, has co-written an original local adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to raise money for Downtown Eastside arts organizations. Boucher told The Vancouver Sun that “culture and arts activities are a vehicle for social benefit.” The Georgia Straight also published a preview of the performance.
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The Globe and Mail spoke to Catherine Murray, SFU’s chair of gender, sexuality and women’s studies, about the first sorority established at the University of Victoria and how some students are against the idea.
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The YouTube video of pop sensation Miley Cyrus smoking a hallucinogenic Mexican herb called salvia divinorum will lead to others trying the recreational drug, said SFU criminology director Rob Gordon. “What the video will do is raise awareness of this drug and that may lead to more people experimenting with it and raise demand and profits for legitimate and illegitimate enterprises,'' he said in The Vancouver Sun.
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How sustainable are the 2010 Winter Olympics? We’ll find out tomorrow when VANOC releases its sustainability report card. “You can plaster green on anything you want to -- that’s called paint -- but you better have something solid underneath that,” SFU marketing expert Lindsay Meredith told 24 Hours Vancouver.


SFU associate history professor Allen Seager had his letter to the editor published in The National Post regarding a story about the rise of paganism in Quebec. “Authorities in Stanstead, Que. (an archetypically mixed community in rural Quebec), have tackled these issues in a very creative way by creating an impressive replica of Stonehenge – a destination tourist site that is open to the public, free of charge, on all days of the year, but is also used sacred place for orderly demonstrations by pagan citizens, on their special days,” he wrote.

Andrew Petter shared his summer reading list with the Toronto Star. Books on the SFU president and vice-chancellor’s list are: The Great American University: Its Rise to Preeminence, Its Indispensible National Role, Why It Must Be Protected (Jonathan R. Cole); Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect (David W. Orr); The Detective Branch (Andrew Pepper).

The Globe and Mail referenced SFU environmental economist Mark Jaccard in a story about the non-binding climate deal reached in a conference of world environmental leaders in Cancun. "If Canada is serious about reducing greenhouse gases, then governments must put an economy-wide price on carbon dioxide and other GHG emissions,” Jaccard was quoted.

Research by SFU criminology student Kouri Keenan was referenced in a Prince George Citizen article about an undercover sting operation that led to a murder conviction. “Such operations, known as ‘Mr. Big’ stings, don't come cheap,” said the article. “The cost of this particular operation has not been disclosed but Simon Fraser University criminology student Kouri Keenan has found they typically range from $100,000 to $300,000 and found several that exceeded $2 million.”

SFU professor emeritus Herbert Grubel had his letter to the editor regarding Canada’s Official Languages Act published in the National Post. He said the act hurts Canadian consumers because products imported into the country must bear bilingual labeling. “The real costs and red tape required to meet these regulations effectively prevent Canadian consumers from acquiring products at the lowest cost available in North America,” he wrote.

Peter Chow-White was interviewed on multiple social media topics. Sing Tao (Vancouver Chinese language newspaper), CBC-TV Quebec, and News1130 spoke with the SFU communication professor about the Vancouver Police Department’s Twitter initiative, while he talked to The Vancouver Sun about the top viral videos of 2010. The Associated Press interviewed Chow-White about the use of social media, mobile phones, and the Internet by minority groups in the U.S., and Global TV contacted him about Canadian youths using social media.

CBC-TV’s The National referenced research by SFU for a story about medical tourism. The research showed thousands of Canadians are heading out of the country to get medical treatment, but the downside is there are often complications related to the surgeries. Skipping the line in Canada to get procedures – like cosmetic surgeries or experimental treatments – elsewhere has its own share of problems. When these people return home complications appear, the Canadian health care system – and taxpayers – have to deal with it.

Students from the first bhangra dance class offered by SFU Contemporary Arts had to perform in a group dance as part of their final exam. The 50 students strutted their stuff in front of an audience earlier this month at a bhangra community celebration at the Vancouver Museum, reports Close Look Productions, which recorded the performance. The class was a huge success and is being offered again for Spring semester. Instructor Raakhi Sinha said the next class is already filled.

Business in Vancouver wrote about the recommendations from SFU’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT) that include transitioning B.C. and Canada to low-carbon economies. One example is to develop a distance-based vehicle insurance program. “It is important to seek win-win approaches that reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts and changing energy supplies, and limit our impacts on the system,” said ACT executive director Deborah Harford.
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The Vancouver Sun followed up on the story about former SFU student Sofi Hindmarch’s research that shows rat poison may be killing the Lower Mainland’s barn owl population.
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SFU communication professor Peter Chow-White was a guest on CKNW’s The Bill Good Show and CFAX’s Dave Dickson Show (Victoria) talking about Time magazine choosing Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg as its person of the year.


A new SFU study shows Christmas displays can undermine the psychological well-being of people who do not celebrate the holiday, reports In experiments, a group of students were randomly assigned to identical rooms – except one had a Christmas tree in it, while the other did not. "Simply having this 12-inch Christmas tree in the room with them made them feel less included in the university as a whole, which to me is a pretty powerful effect from one 12-inch Christmas tree in one psychology lab," SFU psychology professor Michael Schmitt said on the news website.


B.C. Liberal leadership candidate Kevin Falcon’s proposal to freeze the province’s carbon tax is not groundbreaking, SFU environmental economics Mark Jaccard told The Globe and Mail. "No jurisdiction can do this on their own, the best we can do is be a leader, " Jaccard said. "If we are at $30 in 2012 and the rest of North America is at zero, then I would agree with Kevin Falcon. You can continue to do stuff domestically ... but it's pretty hard to keep that tax going up if you are sitting alone."
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The Province referenced SFU marketing expert Lindsay Meredith in an editorial, agreeing with him that the latest campaign promises by B.C. Liberal leadership candidates are all about getting noticed. “Some 16-year-olds are more adult than some 36-year-olds. Some are certainly more honest than many 46-or 56-year-old politicians,” said the paper. “But there has to be an age cut off somewhere. I mean, we wouldn't want 14-or 12-year-olds voting, would we?  No, as SFU marketing Prof. Lindsay Meredith points out, (Mike) de Jong's proposal has more to do with getting noticed. Let's just call it the adult equivalent of wearing a nose ring.”
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Rob Gordon, director of SFU criminology, doesn’t think the new anti-gang measures announced by the Vancouver Police Department will be effective. The initiatives include having more citizen patrols keeping an eye for vehicles outside of gang hangouts. "I think it's optics and I don't see it as really making a dent in the main problem," he told The Vancouver Sun. "I think it is indicative of the level of desperation there is at the moment in the city on how to handle this outburst from folks in drug trade."
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Another campaign promise from a B.C. Liberal leadership candidate, this time from Kevin Falcon, who advocates keeping the SkyTrain system running until 3 a.m. SFU’s Gordon Price wonders where the money would come from to fund this idea. "I would take his word on that, however, I would be skeptical. It's during a campaign for leadership," Price said to CTV News.
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CTV News reports people aren’t spending more money this Christmas but they are doing more shopping via the Internet. Convenience and increased selection is the reason why, said SFU business professor Dianne Cyr.
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In a Toronto Star story about Vancouver having the third highest crime rate of 17 major U.S. and Canadian cities surveyed, SFU criminologist Ehor Boyanowsky blamed drug use for much of the criminal activity. He advocates legalizing drugs in Canada because he explained how addicts are forced to commit property crimes to feed their habits. “We’ve tried prohibition before and that triggered the largest crime wave in history. Crime went down when we repealed prohibition laws and we had an increase in crime again when drug use increased,” he said.
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Langley resident Andrew Henrey and two other SFU students were in the Langley Advance talking about advancing to the finals of the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC). Henrey, along with Hua Huang and Wesley May, are going to Egypt in February to compete against the best of the best.
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News1130 radio interviewed SFU health sciences professor Jamie Kathleen Scott about the story of a German man who was reportedly cured of AIDS after a bone-marrow transplant procedure was used to treat the cancer patient.

SFU Contemporary Arts’ Michael Boucher was a guest on CBC-Radio’s Early Edition to speak about his new adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol.

Many factors during the holidays can induce depression, SFU clinical psychologist Joti Samra told CTV News. The combination of these factors can often make people feel overwhelmed with stress.
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SFU public policy professor Jon Kesselman was on CKNW talking about expanding a national private pension scheme for small business and the self-employed. “It appears all the provinces with the exception of Alberta are onside to expand the Canada Pension Plan retirement benefits. It’s been recognized for a long time that there’s benefits – they’re very secure and very well funded – (but) they’re simply not large enough to bridge the gap for many individuals,” he said.


Clan running back Bo Palmer was named to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) All-Academic football team. The North Vancouver native held a 3.31 GPA as a communication student in the classroom while piling up 417 rushing yards for SFU on the football field, reports the North Shore News. Palmer backed up Gabe Ephard, another North Van native, as the Clan led the league in rushing.
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Global TV came up to Burnaby Mountain and spoke with SFU women’s basketball head coach Bruce Langford about the transition to playing in the NCAA Division II this season. All Clan sports face challenges this season adhering to new NCAA rules, specifically when it comes to athletes’ eligibility. Having four years of playing eligibility instead of five in the Canada West University Athletic Association meant several SFU student-athletes had to transfer to other Canadian schools. Langford lost six key players from his roster.

SFU volleyball coach Lisa Sulatycki was tasked with helping The Province choose its annual senior high-school Player of the Year.
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