SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - March 12, 2010

March 12, 2010

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A look at how Simon Fraser University and its people made news: March 5-12, 2010

A huge week in the media for Clan Athletics.
Superstar Robyn Buna helped the Clan women's basketball team to the CIS Canada West title and the national CIS finals. She was then named CIS player of the year. And teammate Katie Miyazaki was chosen defensive player of the year.
Meanwhile, SFU wrestlers swept the CIS championships. Arjan Bhullar won his second NAIA wrestling crown. Swimmer David Hibberd set an NAIA record.
More on these and other winners below.


  • Comedian Rick Mercer of the Mercer Report on CBC-TV gave a shout-out for SFU on his national show on Tuesday:
    "In September we asked schools across Canada to raise money for mosquito nets to fight malaria in Africa.  . . . Our winners this year: Simon Fraser University in the west and the University of Ottawa in the east. Congratulations! You've done yourself proud, and your hard work will be helping to save a lot of lives."
    Mercer visited the Burnaby campus with a CBC-TV film crew Monday. He’ll air the results (and give SFU more props) next Tuesday, March 16, at 8pm.
    Before Mercer’s visit, News1130 Radio ran a story:  “Rick Mercer returns to SFU”. The all-news station continued: “The comedian is back on Burnaby Mountain to tape a segment for his ‘Rick Mercer Report’ and to announce the winner of his nationwide ‘Spread the Net’ student challenge. It's a campaign to provide insecticide-treated bed nets for children in Africa.”
    24Hours thencovered Mercer’s visit to the Burnaby campus. (Mercer) returned to the school Monday to announce that SFU raised $16,000 during the six-month campaign—more than any other school in Canada. ‘Congratulations to SFU, you won the gold medal!’”
    24Hours also quoted Carl (Dr. Mosquito) Lowenberger, SFU biology prof and malaria expert, as saying effective treatment for childhood malaria is still a decade away. “Until then, this is the best way to reduce childhood malaria.
    Prolific Vancouver blogger “Miss604” (Rebecca Bollwit) also came up The Hill for the event, and spoke with Mercer. You can see her coverage, and link to her five-minute interview, at:
    While SFU raised almost $16,000—thus providing 1,600 bed nets—the U of Ottawa collected just over $3,500. SFU sent out a news release and posted photos on Flickr, at


  • Catherine Murray, chair of gender, sexuality and women's studies at SFU, was in a Vancouver Sun story on the eve of International Women’s Day.  While women have made progress in employment and wages, she said, "there is a huge way to go.”
    Among other things, she said one thing keeping women's wages lower may be a "psychosocial barrier”—the fact that men are more likely to negotiate a higher wage than women. "I have no doubt that negotiations of appropriate wage and recognition strategies need to close in a gender gap. And in order to do that you have to send [women] the social signal in society that in fact they're worth it."

  • The Province looked at Statistics Canada projections that members of visible minorities in Metro Vancouver will outnumber Caucasian residents 3:2 in another two decades. No surprise to economist Krishna Pendakur, co-director of Metropolis British Columbia, Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Diversity.
    "That trend is continuing and that's because we continue to have immigration from countries that have visible minorities," he told the newspaper. “It's not a surprise. There has been an evolving diversity in Canada for a long time."
  • Criminologist Ray Corrado was in a brief clip on GlobalTV, in a story about the deaths last week of two Lower Mainland teenage girls, apparently from trying drugs.  Corrado said of teens experimenting with drugs: “They don’t understand that each person is different.”

  • A Don Cayo column in The Vancouver Sun questioned the origins and impact of BC 's new property tax deferral scheme.  “Economist Jon Kesselman of SFU shares my view that there's no sound policy rationale for this measure, and there was no popular lobby for it. ‘But they didn't have much by the way of goodies to offer in this budget,’ Kesselman noted. ‘So I imagine somebody looked at this and said, “This won't cost too much.” And they went for it because they didn't have anything better to offer.’"

  • The Vancouver Sun reported Vancouver Island beekeepers estimate almost 90 per cent of honeybee colonies there have been wiped out in the last few months. “Simon Fraser University bee expert Mark Winston said pesticide use, as well as farming a single type of crop are ‘bad for bees’ because the bee may not be getting enough nutrients from only one kind of nectar or pollen.  ‘The residue [from pesticides] in bee colonies is showing low levels of hundreds of different compounds. It has become a toxic soup.’"

  • Criminologist Neil Boyd was in a Vancouver Sun story about a 20-year-old Vernon man who has been charged with threatening the family of his ex-girlfriend.
    “SFU criminologist Neil Boyd said no-contact orders can be an effective means to curtail unwanted contact between an accused and his alleged victims, ‘but we can still point to many cases in which we have a restraining order in effect and you have a horrible crime. That's not the norm, that's the exception.’"
    Boyd was also in a Province story about Keith Hunter Jesperson, serving four consecutive life sentences for killing women he met at truck stops and blue-collar bars on the roads of America. The story quoted Boyd: “If you compare serial killers with other criminals, they tend to have the same characteristics . . . What's the solution? Healthy and supportive families and communities. It sounds trite, but it really is the answer."

  • Business profAndrey Pavlov was in the Tri-City News, in a story on how more business licences are being issued there, but the construction and development industry is slow. "Business licences are likely up because the economy is recovering and many individuals and businesses perceive opportunities on the revenue side while the costs of doing business are still relatively low." But developers are probably waiting for demand to increase before starting new projects, he said.

  • The Vancouver edition of Metro told readers: “Simon Fraser University is going digital 3-D.  The university has retrofitted their 200-seat Westminster Savings Credit Union Theatre (at the Surrey campus) to include a 3-D display, surround sound and digital broadcast capabilities.
    The theatre will be used by students to learn how to work with the challenges of 3-D and high definition production, while faculty will use it for research. Lightyear Digital Theatre donated the equipment, software and installed the project, and will use the theatre as a 3-D demonstration venue when it is not being used by the university.”
    Meanwhile, The Vancouver Sun noted Lightyear’s donation is worth $500,000. The University of Western Ontario student newspaper, The Gazette, also ran a story.

  • Speaking of the Surrey campus: The Surrey-North Delta Leader covered a Surrey Board of Trade awards luncheon for business women: “Taking the top spot in the Professional Category is Joanne Curry, executive director of Simon Fraser University’s Surrey Campus. ‘Joanne is passionate about building community partnerships and utilizing the University’s strengths and resources to better the economic and social life of the communities served by the university,’ her nominator wrote.”

  • Randy Shore’s The Green Man blog for The Vancouver Sun looked at genetically modified (GM) foods. Among others, he quoted Pat Howard, prof emerita of SFU Communication and an expert on GM: “Genetic modification is used because patents on the genetic constructs and processes of transgenic transformation yield monopoly profits and considerable control over farmers’ purchases of seed and herbicide. So far, genetic engineering has not produced ‘better food crops’.”

  • The Georgia Straight looked at the gaming (and other) potential of Apple’s iPad, due in Canada in April/May. “Screen size is one of the reasons Andres Wanner, a lecturer at Simon Fraser University’s school of interactive arts and technology in Surrey, believes the iPad will be a success. According to Wanner, the screen will also allow innovative features to be developed for applications for use in everyday life.”

  • With the 2010 Paralympic Games upon us, the website of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) featured the Bionic Energy Harvester developed by Max Donelan and team from SFU Biomedical Physiology & Kinesiology. In the story, Donelan reminded readers: "My central interest is to develop rehabilitation devices and therapies to improve people's ability to walk if they cannot walk well . . . Take stroke as an example, where you have partial paralysis of one side of your body. It changes your gait biomechanics such that it increases the metabolic cost of getting around—we would like to fix that."
    Some of the funding came from MSFHR.

  • SFU student Tamara Grominsky wrote a story on about a new program to help college and university graduates under the age of 30 find employment within the co-operative sector. Grominsky is a freelance writer and a master of publishing student at SFU.


  • John Pierce, dean of SFU Environment, spotted this story from Greece—a feature in the Athens News on the growing number of college students learning Greek. It said:
    “The increase in interest is in part due to the Odysseas Language Project, a new interactive online programme developed by a team of linguists and computer-savvy technicians led by Greek-Canadian André Gerolymatos, chairman of Hellenic studies at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada.
    “Student enrolment is skyrocketing, Gerolymatos tells the Athens News in a telephone interview. Through partnerships with some of the most prestigious universities in the world, including Harvard and Yale in the United States and the University of Beijing in China, students are lining up to learn Greek.” (See:

  • Speaking of Gerolymatos: Canwest News Service quoted him as an expert on terrorism, in a national story on the reported arrest in Pakistan of Adam Yahiye Gadahn, an American who has played a key role in al-Qaida’s propaganda machine.
    If the arrest is confirmed, it represents a significant blow to al-Qaida, said Gerolymatos. “He was an English-speaking mouthpiece and a rallying cry for discontented Muslims in the U.S.”
    We first saw the story in The Vancouver Sun and on

  • The Russian-language service of Voice of America carried a story on the Gadahn arrest and on “Jihad Jane”, an American supporter of al-Qaida. Voice of America quoted Andrew Mack of the SFU-based Human Security Report Project. He noted that in the U.S.  far fewer people express their desire to support jihadists than in Europe. "The Muslim communities in North America are much more integrated in society." Still, he warned: "We must understand that many perceive the war in Iraq not as a war on terror, but as a war against Islam."

  • CNN noted tomorrow is Pi Day—celebrating the incalculable ratio of circumference to diameter of a circle (3.14159¥, and all that.)  One of the “pi guys” in the story: SFU mathematician Peter Borwein. “(He is) gearing up for his school's Pi Day celebration, which will feature pi-digit cookies, pie and a lecture about the number.”

  • MSN’s online Money section featured SFU’s West House, the “laneway” house sited in Yaletown as a demonstration on sustainability.

  • National Public Radio of Sweden (SR P1) now has run two of the three programs it recorded at SFU while here for the Olympics. One was with Gordon Price, director of the SFU City Program, on the city-planning model now labelled “Vancouverism”. The second was on environmental physiologist Matthew White and his device that can replicate extreme environments. This so researchers can examine their impact on human physiology and performance.
    A third segment, on forensic scientist Gail Anderson’s research, is to run in April.

  • Maclean’s looked at the Tsawwassen First Nation, with a new treaty and control of its own development. The magazine asked in a headline: “Are First Nations groups in B.C. ready for independence?” Among those quoted was public policy prof Doug McArthur: “If anything goes wrong, there's nobody to bail them out like before—a huge risk."
  • Criminologist Neil Boyd was in a Toronto Star story on the kind of plea bargain in which drunk driving and cocaine charges were dropped against Rahim Jaffer, former Conservative MP and husband of Helena Guergis, Conservative MP and minister of state for the status of women.
    Said the Star: "A well-recorded history of increased plea bargains in areas of mandatory minimum sentences suggests it is people like Jaffer—connected, educated, wealthy—who benefit most, said criminologist Neil Boyd of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. “'Some people will be sentenced for relatively trivial things for very long periods of time and other people will be able to avoid it—usually having to do with the kinds of resources they have at their disposal in terms of legal defence.'"
    The story also ran in the Moncton Times & Transcript.

  • The Canadian Press reported that B.C. auditor general John Doyle said the possibility for unauthorized people to gain access to government wireless communications remains a concern. The story noted Doyle “also examined wireless security network settings for Simon Fraser University and the B.C. Institute of Technology, which Doyle found adequate.”

  • The New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal carried a story in which Marvin Shaffer, energy economist and adjunct prof in SFU Public Policy, suggested BC look at importing power rather than building infrastructure in BC. “British Columbia is  . . . denying that there are wholesale power markets in neighbouring jurisdictions that you could deal with more cost effectively.”

  • The Mental Health Commission of Canada announced to media a new study of interactions between police and those living with a mental illness. Among those involved are SFU criminologists Simon Verdun-Jones and Rick Parent.


  • Widespread media coverage—as various SFU teams and athletes won titles and honours—included this story: Robyn Buna shot a "perfect game" to lead the Clan women's basketball team to the 2010 Canada West championship with a 92-62 win over the U of Regina Cougars.
    Buna, Canada West Player of the Year, went 7-for-7 from the field and 4-for-4 at the free-throw line for a game-high 20 points.
    The game marked the last time Buna and five teammates will play in the West Gym on the Burnaby campus. The others departing are Kate Hole, Matteke Hutzler, Laurelle Weigl, Brea McLaughlin and Lisa Tindle.
    But they will be dressed for the Canadian InterunIversity Sport (CIS) finals at McMaster UnIversity, Hamilton, this weekend. The Clan opens against McMaster at 3pm today (Friday March 12).  You can watch the game via (The final game will be at noon Sunday on TSN2 and
    Among the many media mentions was this in the Globe and Mail:
    “The Simon Fraser University Clan are looking to go out winners. The women's basketball program at the B.C. school is set to flee Canadian Interuniversity Sport for the National Collegiate Athletic Association next season. And there's little doubt that the Clan are the prohibitive favourites to defend their title this weekend at McMaster University in Hamilton. The Clan dominated in a 92-62 win over the No. 4-ranked University of Regina Cougars on Saturday night in the Canada West Championship, which was also a rematch of the 2009 CIS final. The Clan aim to capture their fourth Bronze Baby in the past six years on their way out the door.”
    The women went into the gold medal game at SFU Burnaby by beating the U of Saskatchewan 84-64.  Buna led the Can with 23 points in that game.

  • In addition this week, Buna was named CIS player of the year. Teammate Katie Miyazaki was chosen defensive player of the year. And Clan colleagues Kristina Collins and Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe were selected to the CIS all-rookie basketball team.

  • The Province featured Clan point guard Lisa Tindle, who celebrated her 23rd birthday on the plane to the CIS finals in Hamilton. “If the Clan can advance to Sunday's final and repeat as national champs, Tindle will have won three Bronze Baby CIS trophies to go alongside the four straight B.C. Double A high school championships she won as the leader of Vancouver's York House Tigers.”

  • Earlier, the Clan men's basketball team lost to the UBC Thunderbirds 78-68 in the Canada West bronze medal game at UBC. Matt Kuzminski led the Clan with 22 points.  The Clan went into the bronze-medal game after losing 82-69 to U of Calgary. Eric Burrell led the Clan with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

  • SFU's men’s and women’s wrestling teams swept the 2010 CIS wrestling championships in Calgary, winning both titles. Clan athletes who won individual gold were (on the men's side) Raj Virdi (61 kg), Mike Cappus (68 kg) and Ali Al-Rekabi (130 kg); and, on the women's side, Victoria Anthony (48 kg), Danielle Lappage (63 kg) and Stacie Anaka (67 kg).  Anthony was named rookie of the year, and Clan head coach Mike Jones earned coach-of-the-year honours on both the men’s and women’s sides.

  • While his teammates were winning CIS national titles in Calgary, Clan wrestler Arjan Bhullar won his second straight NAIA national crown (at 285 lbs) in Oklahoma City. He thus became the first Clan wrestler since Olympic champion Daniel Igali to accomplish the feat.

  • At the 2010 NAIA indoor track and field championships in Tennessee, the Clan women’s team had three championship performances:
    Jessica Smith won the 1000m in 2:45.85. (That broke Clan alumna Julia Howard’s 2006 record time of 2:48.69.) Helen Crofts blew away the field in the 800m, winning by more than four seconds in a time of 2:09.54.  Crofts and Smith then teamed with Angela Shaw and Michaela Kane to win the DMR (distance medley relay) final.
    Over-all, the Clan women’s team finished third out of 40 teams. The men's team was 33rd out of 48.

  • In St. Louis MO, Clan swimmer David Hibberd set a record at the 2010 NAIA swimming and diving national championships, winning the 200-yard freestyle in 1:38.08. He also won the 100-yard freestyle. But the Clan men finished sixth over-all at the meet, while the SFU women finished in fifth in their division.

  • Closer to home, in Richmond, the Clan softball team took the first-ever varsity doubleheader against UBC, winning 8-3 and 10-1 to improve their record to 6-2 on the season. Leah Riske belted a three-run homer in each of the games.

  • Assorted Clan wins helped SFU remained in first place in the winter NAIA Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings, ahead of Lindenwood (MO) and Azusa Pacific (CA). The final winter NAIA standings will be released March 25.

  • Dave Murphy, senior director of SFU Athletics, and Dave Johnson, head football coach, spoke with radio station Québec 800 in Québec City. This for a segment on the Université Laval’s Rouge et Or football broadcast. The subject: SFU’s move to the NCAA.

  • Paralympic skier Matt Hallat, an SFU Business student set to compete in the downhill, super G, giant slalom, slalom and super combined events during the Paralympic Games, was interviewed on the On the Coast show on CBC Radio. He was also featured in the Tri-City News—and was on the front page of this week’s SFU News.

Also in sports:

  • The Brockville (ON) Recorder and Times looked back to the 65-country boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, to protest the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Among the athletes affected: Rob Woodbury, now a prof at SFU’s School for Interactive Arts + Technology at the Surrey campus.
    “Thirty years ago, Brockville native Rob Woodbury won the berth in the Finn sailing division to represent Canada at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. . . . (He) still thinks about Canada's decision not to send its athletes. ‘I don't think about just myself. I think about the other 300 people in the country on that Olympic team. When that decision was made, I don't think anybody else can fully understand what it meant to those athletes.’”


  • The Vancouver edition of Metro reported SFU has applied for formal accreditation from the Washington-based Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The paper quoted KC Bell, SFU’s director of special projects, office of the president: “A globally recognized guarantee of quality will increase SFU’s profile abroad and help us attract the best international students.”
    Maclean’s on Campus also pursued a story.


  • The Globe and Mail and The Province carried advance features on the opening Wednesday of the show Spine, at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, SFU at Woodward's.

  • “With the characters spending a great deal of time in online fantasy worlds, the play itself needed to have a certain visual sophistication to it,” wrote The Province. “‘We use a lot of technology in the show,’ says Sanders (quadriplegic actor James Sanders). ‘Actors have customized Wii controllers strapped to their arms that they can control soundscapes. We have an enormous amount of projectable surfaces to work with—even actors in white act as surfaces.’”

  • Hawaii’s Maui Weekly promoted an appearance there this weekend by Jack Lee, pipe sergeant with the world-champion SFU Pipe Band. “For 30 years, Jack Lee has been regarded as one of the world’s leading pipers. This year’s concert  . . .  endeavors to bring world famous pipers and drummers to Maui to enrich our island community with the world’s very best piping and drumming talent.”


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