SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - March 5, 2010

March 5, 2010

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A look at how Simon Fraser University and its people made news: Feb. 26-March 5, 2010

During the 2010 Winter Olympics, and just before the games, SFU and its people were in more than 200 Olympic-related stories in the news media from all over.
That includes some 50 pieces about the show Blue Dragon/Le Dragon Bleu—performed at SFU Woodward’s as part of the official Cultural Olympiad.
Among news leaders, historian André Gerolymatos, an expert on terrorism, was in more than 30 separate stories, and marketing prof Lindsay Meredith in more than 16.
And in post-games stories this week, both were in the media again.


  • The Canadian Press carried a national feature on the green-ness of the 2010 Winter Olympics:
    Lindsay Meredith, a marketing professor at Simon Fraser University said he is growing more convinced that some of the green efforts are real, but that the real gauge of whether corporate efforts are just ‘greenwash’ will come after the Games.
    “‘I'm not looking for everybody to turn into green knights overnight. . . . On the other hand, a lot of people are saying “Fine, show me and it better be real, and it better be concrete and it better not be inconsequential.”’”

  • The Globe and Mail reviewed some Olympic success stories, including what the Globe said was a reduction in crime. But it quoted SFU criminologist Neil Boyd as saying we shouldn’t try to make too much of it.
    “What we're dealing with is an extraordinarily unusual event in terms of the number of people in the city core and the number of police in the city core. There are too many unusual circumstances about this, circumstances that just are not likely to be repeated in our lifetime."
    Meanwhile, Rob Gordon, director of SFU Criminology, quoted in The Province, questioned whether there had been a drop. He praised Vancouver police for smart decisions—such as closing liquor stores early and flooding the streets with officers.  “But the Olympics didn't put a dent in the crime rate, he noted. ‘There's no sudden surge in criminal activity, nor was there any sudden drop,’ Gordon said. ‘It was pretty much business as usual.’"

  • In a CBC Sports feature,historian André Gerolymatos, oft quoted as an expert on security and terrorism, also praised police for “impeccable” work.  “It shows that Vancouver can certainly handle—and it has in the past—a major international event such as the Olympics. I think in the future, the lesson for the police is that, you know, the positive approach is much better than being aggressive."

  • Also in The Province: Marjorie Griffin Cohen, SFU prof of political science and women's studies, who called the medal haul by female athletes a major landmark for Canada. “When women have an equal opportunity . . . they do well. That will be an important legacy of the Games."
    But she said she fears social programs will be slashed to pay for the Games. "This may be a legacy of the Olympics, that we are going to see cuts in areas we can't afford."

  • Gordon Price, director of the SFU City Program, was in the Vancouver Westender, saying of the Olympic transportation strategy: "I think it's taken a big argument off the table: 'You won't get people out of their cars.' Well, yeah. Apparently, you can."
    Any holdup for future public-transit improvements, he added, will be due to a lack of investment from the provincial government. "This is going to be the embarrassment now, I think, when they dock the third SeaBus [put into service for the Olympics], when they start removing bus service.”


  • Coming up on CBC Radio tomorrow, Saturday March 6, the popular science program Quirks & Quarks interviews SFU’s Karen Kohfeld, who says dust—the tiny particles that float around in the earth’s atmosphere—may have contributed 10,000 years ago to the end of the Ice Age.
    Kohfeld, Canada Research Chair on Climate Resources and Global Change at SFU, says: ‘Dust is a really good example of how land, atmosphere and climate are connected.”

  • You can catch Quirks & Quarks at 12:06pm PST tomorrow, right after the noon news. If you have to miss it, you can pick it up later at

  • The Vancouver Sun told readers last weekend: “A Vancouver tsunami expert had his first ever real-life glimpse of the natural phenomenon Saturday while, on vacation from his research post at Simon Fraser University.
    John Clague, an SFU tsunami researcher and self-professed ‘Olympic refugee’, watched the waves from Saturday's 8.8 magnitude Chilean earthquake crash ashore from atop a hill near the Hawaiian town of Kihei while on holiday on Maui. ‘It definitely was a tsunami but the actual height of the waves was smaller than what they had feared,’ said Clague. ‘The water was very turbulent here but, fortunately, the waves didn't cause any damage.’"
    Clague was also in two pieces in the Globe and Mail, saying (i) the quake was “definitely outside the normal realm,” and (ii) it's doubtful Chilean authorities would have had time to evacuate anyone in the scant minutes between the quake and the wall of water that slammed ashore shortly afterward.

  • Meanwhile CTV in Kenora ON picked up tape from an interview Clague did on the Fanny Kiefer Show on Shaw-TV, following the Haiti earthquake. “Geologists knew that there was an active fault that zipped through the southern end of Haiti, and they were predicting that there would be a large earthquake on that particular fault. No way you could predict when it was going to occur, but over a long period of time, they become inevitable. . . .
    "The forces in Haiti had been building up for probably a couple hundred years, slowly, slowly kind of like the coiling of a spring, you just get this buildup, and then it probably just takes a little straw that breaks the camel's back. and in this case, the fault slipped a metre instantly."

  • Biological scientist Rolf Mathewes was mentioned in the Kelowna Capital News, in a story on how road construction crews had uncovered “one of the oldest undisturbed soil deposits found yet in Canada.”
    Reported the News: “Paleoecologist Rolf Matthewes from Simon Fraser University was here . . . to sample the organic portion of the soil that’s been uncovered to determine whether there is any pollen in it. Such knowledge could help determine more exactly how old this seam of glacial till is.”


  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader and Surrey Now told readers how students at SFU’s Surrey campus will be producing and viewing high-definition video thanks to a new $500,000 digital theatre. The theatre is a complete retrofit of the 200-seat Westminster Savings Credit Union Theatre. The equipment, software and installation were donated by Surrey-based Lightyear Digital Theatre (Canada).
    The Leader added: “Lightyear’s ‘showcase’ at SFU  . . .  will be used by SFU, the School of Interactive Arts and Technology and the School of Contemporary Arts.”

  • Ethics prof Mark Wexler of SFU Business was on CBC Radio talking about how lenient Canada is with white-collar crooks such as Ian Thow of Victoria. Thow pleaded guilty this week to defrauding 20 investors of $8 million, and was sentenced to nine years.
    Said Wexler: "These lives he pulverized; and the fact that this individual lived high and lived so well, and will probably be back on the streets in 22 months, indicates that something's wrong here."
    Wexler said of Thow's victims: "Elderly, uninsured and psychologically very vulnerable. They trusted him . . . and he smacked them in the face."

  • Gordon Price, director of the SFU City Program, was in a story in the Victoria Times Colonist on the political battle over a proposal for a $20-million marina there, aimed at the luxury boat market. “(Harbours) are very necessary open space. . . . I think the first failure is not recognizing that when we zone for marinas we are taking up a kind of parkland."

  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader made a story out of a news release from SFU:
    “Adjust your home furnace, check whether your arteries are clogged, or determine the location of your child, all with a tap of a quarter-sized brooch. That's the technology being developed by Simon Fraser University and used by a company co-founded by a Surrey businessman.
    “The technology is being spearheaded by SFU engineering professor Bozena Kaminska and CiBER (Centre for Integrative Bio-Engineering Research). Kaminska, a Canada Research Chair in Wireless Sensor Networks, founded the SFU-based, mixed-technology electronics developer.”
    The science website of also picked up the news release.
  • The Vancouver Sun turned another news release from SFU into a story: "A researcher from Simon Fraser University is investigating childhood leukemia in southern Iraq, where the rate of the blood cancer in some areas is now four times that of neighbouring Kuwait."
    The SFU researcher is physician-prof Tim Takaro of SFU Health Sciences: "To find these numbers in Iraq was surprising to us. The next question is: Why is this happening? It's impossible to say without further study why (rates in Basrah) are going up. But this may be an unintended result of armed conflict."

  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader listed winners of the inaugural Surrey Women in Business Awards, from the Surrey Board of Trade. Among winners, in the professional category, is Joanne Curry, executive director of SFU’s Surrey campus.  (The awards luncheon is Wednesday, March 10 at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, Surrey.)

  • The Burnaby NewsLeader featured SFU Engineering prof Andrew Rawicz, who walks to work every day from his Burnaby home. “The 4.7-km, 40-minute trip (one way) takes the 60-year-old through bucolic neighbourhoods and a forested park.
    “‘Five kilometres is a perfect distance because you wake up properly,’ says Andrew, who came to Canada from Poland in 1982. ‘I think this is the most efficient approach, because I have to go to work anyway. I haven't been sick in more than 40 years. . . . Using cars makes us weaklings.’"

  • Ottawa’s new citizenship guide got a thumbs-down review from Donald Gutstein, adjunct prof in SFU Communication. His commentary on included:
    “The word ‘unions’ doesn’t appear in the guide. . . . The word ‘feminist’ is blanked from the guide and ‘activist’ appears only twice. . . . A newcomer might wonder who gay and lesbian Canadians are, but will not discover this fact in Discover Canada. . . . There are no prisons or prisoners in the new Canada, no poverty, no landlords or tenants and no rich or wealthy Canadians.”

  • Mike Volker, director of SFU’s University/Industry Liaison Office, was on CBC-TV’s national news, talking about possible winners from the federal budget commitment of some $650 million to promote high-tech R&D investment.
    Said Volker:Small growing companies just don't have the resources and the connections often to bring in the talent. So this should be very helpful to them. . . . I think this will attract people who are looking for new opportunities, especially with high-growth companies, people that are willing to take a little bit of a risk, relocate from a region like Silicon Valley and join a company, for example, here in Vancouver that looks very promising and encouraging.”

  • The Globe and Mail quoted criminologist Neil Boyd in a story of a man who is accused of murdering three sex-trade workers in the Lower Mainland.  Boyd noted that murder generally involves people who know each other—family members, members of criminal organizations or others. “Serial murder is very rare.”

  • The website of wrote about a challenge—originating at SFU International—to the oft-cited estimate of 5 million war-deaths in Congo, an estimate that came from the International Rescue Committee in 2008.
    “But one university group has challenged the IRC's report, and cast into doubt widely used methods for calculating war deaths in conflicts all over the world. The Human Security Report published in January by Simon Fraser University in Canada's British Columbia, rejects the IRC's Congo estimates, claiming they were based on ‘questionable methodological assumptions.’ The university report instead endorses a Belgian study that found just 200,000 Congolese war deaths between 1998 and 2004.”  (
  • Meanwhile, the Afghanistan Conflict Monitor, also from the Human Security Report Project at SFU, was mentioned on the Internet Scout Project website at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. (

  • The news-and-commentary website of carried a column headed: “Thirteen months, two prorogations of Parliament”.  It included this: “Andrew Heard, associate professor of political science at Simon Fraser University, (said) ‘The governor-general's decision was actually going to be a substantial intervention in the political process regardless of whether she granted prorogation or not. Indeed her decision to grant Mr. Harper's request has in fact prevented our elected members of parliament from resolving the issue in a timely fashion.’"


SFU Athletics helped media with coverage as:

Three members of SFU Clan women's basketball team won big Canada West varsity honours. Robyn Buna was named MVP, Kristina Collins rookie of the year, and Katie Miyazaki defensive player of the year. Buna and Laurelle Weigl were named to the All-Star team. See:

  • The Kelowna Courier carried a feature on Buna, headlined: “Kelowna's Buna leads SFU to final”. Sadly, the story noted: “Although she has one year of eligibility in the CIS, it's likely she will be back on the SFU campus solely as a student next year as she works to finish her degree. Because of the Clan's departure from the CIS to the NCAA next season, she can't use her fifth and final year of Canadian eligibility in the four-year U.S. system.”

  • The No. 1-ranked SFU women’s basketball team begins defending its Canada West crown tonight (Friday March 5) as the Clan hosts Canada West Final Four. SFU will open the tournament against Saskatchewan at 6:15 pm. (Then the U of Alberta Pandas and U of Regina Cougars square off at 8:15 pm. The winners will play on Saturday night at 7 pm, while the bronze medal elimination game will take place on Saturday at 5 pm.)

  • The Clan men’s basketball team beat the U of Regina Cougars 77-71 and 96-77, and now take on the U of Calgary Dinos in the opener of Canada West Final Four, tonight, 5pm, War Memorial Gym, UBC.  It’s the Clan’s first trip to the Final Four in eight seasons.

  • After scoring 14 and 28 points in those two victories over the Cougars, guard Matt Kuzminski was named the SFU Clan Athlete of the Week.
    Then team-mate Kevin Shaw was named Canada West’s nominee for the Ken Shields award for excellence in the student-athlete field. Point guard Sean Burke and newcomer Chas Kok were named second-team Canada West all-stars.

  • The Clan softball team prepared to take on the UBC Thunderbirds today (Friday March 5) at Richmond’s London Park #1. It’s the launch of a new rivalry between SFU and UBC, as the Thunderbirds officially began competing in the NAIA this season. Today’s doubleheader is scheduled for 2 pm and 4 pm.

  • The Clan men’s and women’s swimming teams began their 2010 NAIA National Championship quest in Missouri. Sophomore Ben Berg claimed the first title of the meet for the Clan, winning the 50-yard freestyle by a tenth of a second. Competition continues through Saturday.

  • The Clan track and field team got off to a good start at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Tennessee, with all three of the Clan’s relay teams qualifying for the finals. The main competition for SFU is today and Saturday.

  • At the 2010 NAIA wrestling national championships in Oklahoma, three Clan wrestlers went 5-1 on opening day. The meet continues through Saturday. Meanwhile, the remainder of the Clan men’s and women’s wrestling teams got ready for their final CIS Championships (before heading into the NCAA) today and Saturday at the University of Calgary.

  • Also in sport: The Squamish Chief newspaper featured Paralympic skier Matt Hallat, an SFU student who will compete in the downhill, super G, giant slalom, slalom and super combined skiing events during the March 12-21 Paralympic Games.
    “After the Paralympic Games, Hallat plans to return to Simon Fraser University where he will continue his business administration studies and combine his university degree with a lifelong involvement in sports.”
    Hallatt will also be featured in SFU News on March 11.


  • The Vancouver Sun did an advance feature on the show Spine—"a play where its wheelchair-bound star steps into a virtual universe."  It runs March 10-20 at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre at SFU Woodward's.
    Of the theatre, star James Sanders, a quadriplegic actor, said: "The Wong is extremely accessible. It's been built with the mandate that any person with a disability can do any job—including hanging a light. Fortunately, I live just a stone's throw away, so I should be able to just push there."

  • The Financial Post Business Magazine (in National Post) asked four people why they had decided to go for an MBA. One is Philip Grant, singer and business manager for the classical music group Romanza, who is taking an MBA at SFU.
    As a business manager: “I felt like I needed a theoretical background and a foundation for what I enjoyed doing. I'm seeing that there are a lot of things I did right, but there are a lot of things I could have done better."

  • The Kamloops Daily News reported: “Despite SFU's decision to shut down its Kamloops campus, Tk'emlups Indian Band (TIB) isn't yet prepared to close the door with Secwepemc cultural programs left out in the cold.” The paper quoted SFU’s V-P Academic, Jon Driver, as saying SFU’s Kamloops program is slated to close, but SFU hopes to continue its Shuswap language program. Band councillor Connie Leonard said she hopes for federal and/or provincial aid.


In addition to news releases mentioned above:

  • SFU spread the word about the visit to SFU Burnaby on Monday March 8 of Rick Mercer, star of CBC-TV’s hit comedy program The Rick Mercer Report. At 12:30pm in Convocation Mall, Mercer will announce winners of the national Spread the Net student challenge and rumour is there’s a good reason he’s doing it at SFU.

ALSO in the NEWS

  • The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada told media it has selected Bing Thom Architects Inc. as the recipient of its 2010 Architectural Firm Award. The RAIC jury noted the firm: “has developed a practice that seeks out inventive collaborations between stakeholders, as in the Surrey Central City project where the Simon Fraser University satellite campus was built on top of a commercial centre as a way to reactivate one of the largest suburbs in Canada.”


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marc berezowski

Surely there must of been some people mentioned in the 50 or so "Blue Dragon" articles who are working hard with and for SFU Woodwards. I would have liked to seen some abstracts that featured them.

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