SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - December 20, 2010

December 20, 2010

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Media Matters, a daily report on Simon Fraser University in the news, is compiled and distributed by SFU Public Affairs & Media Relations (PAMR). This edition covers the period from 11 a.m., Friday, Dec. 17, through 8:30 a.m. today, Monday, Dec. 20.


A new SFU study shows Christmas decorations can make non-Christians feel left out, said the Toronto Sun. The study is based on experiments conducted by SFU psychology professor Michael Schmitt. "Our findings in no way suggest that we need to put an end to all holiday displays, but our research does suggest that we need to be more thoughtful about the presence of Christmas displays in many social situations," he said in the paper. This story was picked up by several media outlets, including CBC-Radio, CBC-TV, Daily Telegraph (UK), Vancouver Metro, The Vancouver Sun, and
Full story (Toronto Sun):
Full story (Vancouver Sun):


Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is meeting with his provincial counterparts this week and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is high on the topic list. The federal government recently announced plans for a new private-sector pension system. SFU public policy professor Jon Kesselman is not in favor of Ottawa’s idea. "If it's a competitive advantage, why aren't they (companies) doing it now?" Kesselman said in the Calgary Herald. "It puts it all back on the worker."
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According to the Richmond Review, statistics suggest church attendance in Canada is declining. But retired SFU humanities professor Donald Grayston said Christmas services remain very popular. "Most people, when they come to church on Christmas Eve, not having come since the previous Christmas, bring with them a mixture of feelings: sentimentality, nostalgia, hopes and fears, concern for the spirituality of the festival in a time of consumerism, and so on, rather than any great desire to be challenged," said Grayston.
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Christy Clark’s entry into the B.C. Liberal leadership race definitely livens things up, said SFU public policy professor Kennedy Stewart, but don’t count out Kevin Falcon. "Kevin Falcon has the support of the federal Conservatives. Christy Clark and George Abbott have the backing of the federal Liberals," said Stewart in The Province.  "They're going to have to take some risks, and put Kevin Falcon on the defensive."
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Elections B.C. doesn’t control when provincial elections are held, said SFU public policy professor Kennedy Stewart, responding to claims that a snap election cannot be held due to logistics. "Administrative difficulties or challenges can't override the constitution of the country or how things are run in the province,” he told The Globe and Mail.
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Removing the erotic services ads on Craigslist will make it harder for the police to investigate human trafficking and child prostitution, SFU criminologist John Lowman told the QMI Agency news network.
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SFU’s Contemporary Arts’ Michael Boucher spoke with News1130 over the weekend about his new adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, that played at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.
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Exchange students are spending the holidays with SFU staff and faculty thanks to the school’s International Host program, reports News1130. "The international student gets the chance to experience an authentic, either holiday meal or a meal with a local family, and the staff or faculty gets the opportunity to really connect to an international community and learn a little bit more about what they're going through in Canada," said SFU’s Michelle Kangro.
Full story:, co-created by SFU student Matias Marquez, was featured by the blog. His company just launched an innovative partnership with the Cactus Club restaurant chain.
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SFU chemistry professor Steven Holdcroft spoke to Chemical & Engineering News about the Pacifichem 2010 Student Poster Competition in Honolulu.
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There will be a semi-eclipse Dec. 21 and SFU physicist Howard Trottier was talking about the event today on Global TV’s Morning News.
Video clip (click on Morning News in left column and then look for link to Trottier’s interview under Guests): has named the capturing and holding of antihydrogen atoms as its breakthrough of the year. SFU physicist Mike Hayden is part of the international team that made history.
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The SFU women’s basketball team came close to pulling off an upset Saturday night against the Seattle Pacific Falcons, but the visitors hung on to win 65-60 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) action. Despite the loss, the Clan has to feel good playing tough against Seattle, ranked No. 1 in the GNAC pre-season poll, said The Province.

Playing their first of two games prior to the holiday break, the SFU men’s basketball team lost 74-72 to Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ, Friday night. The Clan’s Ricky Berry scored 29 points while Justin Brown added 24 points, reports In the second game against Cal Poly Pomona, SFU lost 80-58 to the defending NCAA Division 2 champions.


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