SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - Nov. 8-12, 2010

November 12, 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 Nov. 8-12.


It’s still difficult for the public to comprehend why people choose to work in the sex industry without coercion or financial stress, SFU prostitution researcher Tamara O’Doherty told The Ubyssey, UBC’s student newspaper. She said her research shows sex workers like the “flexible work schedule, high pay, and anonymity.” A UK study published in May found 16.5 per cent of undergrad students would consider working in the sex industry, with 93 per cent citing money as one of the main motivations.
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The Toronto Star interviewed Gordon Harris and wrote a feature about UniverCity, noting it as Canada’s greenest community. The article said if there’s one thing about urban planning that people hate more than sprawl, it’s density. “People are afraid of the word density,” Harris said in the story. “Planners must think of better ways of describing what are really aspects of density — livability, affordability and sustainability. In the suburbs, rising energy costs mean diminishing prospects for personal affluence.”
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The Vancouver Sun’s education reporter, Janet Steffenhagen, blogged about SFU education professor Kieran Egan’s new book, Learning in Depth. According to the blog post, the book encourages a “simple but ambitious” change in K-12 curriculum that focuses on assigning a topic to students in their first week of schooling. “The expectation is that this process will transform for most children their relationship to, and understanding of the nature of, knowledge. It should also transform for each child the experience of schooling,” Egan said in his book.
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Maclean’s magazine released its annual University Rankings package and SFU is ranked again as Canada’s top comprehensive school. “The overall rankings of 49 universities provide a snapshot of universities' relative strengths among peers, with detailed data on each measure, including the reputational survey, student-faculty ratio, and student financial aid,” said a news release published in “In addition, Maclean's publishes numbers on entering grades, average class sizes and more, as well as the results of two student surveys to paint a fuller picture of each university.” The rankings package will be released Nov. 11. SFU president Andrew Petter said the rankings are just a tool for students to use when picking a university. "The rankings are generally trying to compare apples to apples," Petter told Postmedia News. "The problem is that often, we need to compare apples to oranges."
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British Columbians won’t know until after the next provincial election who contributed to politicians’ campaigns, said The Georgia Straight. “It’s a lot to do with the very minimal regulation we have on how money flows through the election process,” said SFU public policy professor Kennedy Stewart said. “At all levels, provincial and local, we’re seen as a bit of a Wild West of politics.”
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B.C. Health Minister Kevin Falcon told The Vancouver Sun he would probably not enter the B.C. Liberal leadership race if Carole Taylor changes her mind. Taylor, recently announced as SFU’s new chancellor and will assume the role in June 2011, keeps getting mentioned by pundits as a possible leadership candidate. "I hope I'm not seen as a front runner,” Falcon said. “I appreciate that some people think I'm a good candidate. But we have good candidates in our caucus, and we've got individuals like Carole Taylor, a former MLA, who's a strong candidate too.”
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Premier Campbell’s surprise resignation is likely not good news for NDP leader Carole James, SFU public policy professor Kennedy Stewart told the Canadian Press. James was looking forward to matching up with Campbell in the next provincial election but will now face a different opponent, likely one with less baggage. "It is a nightmare for Carole James," Stewart said. "There's going to be tremendous pressure on James to pick up her game, because she's risen up to power opposing two taxes, the carbon tax and the HST."
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The B.C. Liberals continue to mention Carole Taylor’s name when asked about party leadership hopefuls to replace Gordon Campbell. Despite her commitment to become SFU’s next chancellor, Taylor appears to be Health Minister Kevin Falcon’s top choice. Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer is the latest to follow up on Falcon’s comment that he would not be interested in the leadership race if Taylor had a change of heart. “Falcon was the right person to throw Taylor's name into the speculative mix. He's politically savvy enough to recognize the advantages she'd bring to a party in deep trouble,” Palmer wrote. “And the almost 20-year difference in their ages means he could make way for her in this round and still have a shot to succeed her in five years or so.”
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Should the police be allowed to investigate themselves? That’s the question the Victoria Times Colonist asked. SFU criminologist David MacAlister said B.C. could save money if it learned a few lessons from Ontario’s model of a civilian-led investigations unit. "We don't have to go through the same lengthy process that Ontario went through.... If we know the kind of problems that are going to be faced, presumably we can head those off."
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Anthony Perl, director of SFU’s Urban Studies program, believes peak oil will one day devastate the world’s transportation industry. His presentation at the recent ASPO-USA conference is available online via
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Canada has given hockey some of the best players on the planet. Why can’t it do the same when it comes to sports movies? Score: The Hockey Musical, our country’s latest attempt, bombed at the box office, only bringing in $250,000. The best hockey movie so far is the classic, Slapshot, starring U.S. film star Paul Newman. “Slap Shot did a good job of mixing comedic elements with a serious theme,” said SFU communication professor Rick Gruneau, in The Globe and Mail. “It was rough, real and unabashedly violent, which is what most hockey fans want – and expect – to see in a movie about hockey. So far, no Canadian film has come close to replicating that.”
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The Burnaby NewsLeader visited with Andrew Petter and wrote about SFU’s new president’s first few months on the job. Reporter Mario Bartel noted how “engagement is a big part of what makes Petter tick.”
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Why do Aboriginal students in B.C. score significantly lower than non-Aboriginal students in standard, province-wide tests? This is the question SFU economics associate professors Jane Friesen and Brian Krauth examined in their paper that was published in the Canadian Journal of Economics.
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The Surrey Leader wrote a feature about SFU student Kevin Morgan and detailed his convocation experience. Morgan, who is legally blind, delivered a speech on behalf of the 26 mature students graduating from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. “I grew up fiery, competitive, and somewhat opinionated,” he told his audience. “And whether this was a result of adolescent feelings of inferiority due to my visual disability or a byproduct of many years as a competitive runner... at times, my resulting worldview distorted my perceptions and corrupted my judgment.”
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Gordon Price, director of SFU’s The City Program, was on The Bill Good Show on CKNW, talking about TransLink's proposal for a region-wide increase in property tax to help pay for the Evergreen SkyTrain line. Price began: "It's another game of TransLink chicken." He faulted the provincial government for rejecting regional proposals other than property tax. He proposed, instead, funding from the B.C. carbon tax. "I think most people would agree that, if they are convinced that the money would go for an improvement in transit service that directly affects greenhouse gases, you could make a good case for it."


Canadian taxpayers should stop subsidizing Air Canada, SFU professor emeritus said Herb Grubel in a column published in the Brockville Recorder & Times (Ontario). “How can we explain the regulatory decisions that provide subsidies to Air Canada at the expense of the Canadian public? Research has shown that the design and operation of regulation often is hijacked by the regulated industry to serve its own interests rather than those of the public,” Grubel wrote.
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SFU education professor Carolyn Mamchur was a guest on CBC Radio’s The Current today to talk about how far should universities go to accommodate students with academic anxiety. Her interview is available online.
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SFU engineering student Ben Brown-Bentley has been named Student Entrepreneur of the Year by the Surry Board of Trade, according to the Peace Arch News. Jane Fee, associate dean for SFU’s faculty of arts and social science, presented the 20-year-old with the award. Brown-Bentley’s company, Adrenaline Productions, specializes in organizing all-age and late-night dance events.
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Airline passengers flying into or leaving Canada are now banned from carrying large printer toner cartridges in their checked baggage, according to Postmedia News. This restriction stems for the recent attempt discovery of parcel bombs destined for the U.S. and follows a complete ban on all air cargo originating from Yemen. SFU international security expert Andre Gerolytmaos called this a “proactive” approach by Canada. "These are very good measures that'll certainly go a long way in deterring people from using packages to get explosives through," Gerolytamos said. “But they'll always try another way. We are reacting and logically so, but we have to anticipate what the next round will be.”
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An announcement by Solicitor General Rich Coleman that the government will review the new impaired driving laws is the right thing to do, said SFU criminologist Neil Boyd. “Introducing 0.05 is quite a departure from 0.08, and we have a criminal law that prohibits driving with having more than 0.08 alcohol in your bloodstream,” he said in The Province. “It’s still not clear to me that we’re targeting the right people by focusing on 0.05.”
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SFU fish biologist John Reynolds collaborated on a study that says “salmon farms are transferring sea lice to wild salmon in a much larger area of British Columbia's coastal waters than first thought,” reported CBC News. Studies have shown sea lice can kill small juvenile salmon. CBC Radio News, CBC Radio’s B.C. Almanac, and CFAX radio (Victoria) also interviewed Reynolds.
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SFU fish biologist John Reynolds is one of three authors of a study published this week that found higher levels of sea lice on wild salmon near fish farms. “Exposure to salmon farms was the only consistently significant factor to explain the variation in prevalence data, with a secondary role played by salinity,” The Globe and Mail quoted from the report. The study was presented to the Cohen commission looking into the disappearance of Fraser River sockeye salmon. CBC Radio and CFAX radio (Victoria) also interviewed Reynolds.
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Funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will help SFU biology professor Carl Lowenberger determine how insects can help create better antibiotics. “The grant will allow us to take on some high risk research that, if we are right in our design, would help us identify targets and molecules to combine in the creation of more effective antibiotics,” Lowenberger said in a news release published on
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SFU associate communication professor Yuezhi Zhao shot down a lawyer’s claims that three local Chinese newspapers are controlled by the Chinese government. “These three papers locally and historically have been known to be tied to Taiwan and Hong Kong,” she told the Toronto Sun. “The World Journal is anti-communist,” Zhao said. “They're pretty critical of China.” Zhao was commenting on the story about the young Asian man who wore a disguise to get on board a flight to Vancouver from Hong Kong. His lawyer wants the three Chinese-language newspapers to be banned from the immigration hearing.
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SFU public policy professor Jonathan Kesselman’s call for an expanded Canada Pension Plan was referenced in The Financial Post. The article said getting Canadian provinces to accept the idea may be difficult: “CPP reform requires two-thirds of provinces to approve it and some, notably Alberta, prefer a private-sector solution.”
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Kessleman was also interviewed by the Burnaby NOW for his opinion on B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell’s resignation. “I was not surprised. The popularity rating on the premier personally has sunk to very low levels, and although I don't have any inside knowledge, I would suspect inside his caucus there would have been pressure to expedite his retirement,” he said in the newspaper.
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Five SFU business students – Chantelle Buffy, Josephine Gunawan, Aren Hanson, Sabaina Saif, and Kenny Wee – gave back to the community this past weekend by coordinating The Good Drive. As part of a project management course, the students collected household goods for the non-profit group, Gather and Give.
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The Province columnist Jon Ferry referenced SFU business professor Mark Wexler’s view that politics in Canada is now “more like professional wrestling.” He wrote: “Certainly, visceral anger is the political currency of the day, fuelling both the Tea Party success in the U.S. and the election of abrasive outsider Rob Ford to the mayor's chair in Toronto. But I don't agree there's anything very new about this. Politics has always been a blood sport.”

The Tacoma News Tribune is the latest media outlet to review SFU education professor Kieran Egan’s new book, Learning in Depth: A Simple Innovation That Can Transform Schooling.
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A letter to the editor in the Edmonton Journal referenced research by Paul Budra, associate dean of SFU’s faculty of arts and social science. The letter writer laments the lack of grammar instruction in K-12.
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Breakthrough SFU research involving neutrons and crystal structures was referenced by Nanowerk News.
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SFU communication professor Richard Smith was a guest of CKNW’s The Bill Good Show to talk about the B.C. Labour Relations Board upholding a ruling involving two Maple Ridge men who were fired for making comments about their workplace.

Rob Gordon, director of SFU criminology, was on CBC-TV’s The National to discuss B.C. Solicitor General Rich Coleman’s announcement he will review the province’s new impaired driving laws. He also appeared on CBC-Radio’s On the Coast show with Stephen Quinn.


What an amazing season it’s been SFU’s men’s soccer team. The squad won 16 games in a row en route to a 17-1 record and capturing the conference championship in its first year in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC), according to The Province. This marks the first time a Canadian school has ever won an NCAA conference championship. While the squad is not eligible for the NCAA playoffs, it will participate in the NAIA playoffs instead.

The Coquitlam NOW wrote a feature about the fantastic season freshman Carlo Basso’s had with the SFU men’s soccer team. The 18-year-old Coqutilam native scored nine goals in 14 games this season to lead the Clan. "He's been a pleasant surprise," said coach Alan Koch. "I knew Carlo would be a very good player for us at some stage, but I wasn't sure exactly when. He's ended up being very, very good right away, which is a fantastic surprise."
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Howard Tsumura from The Province focused on Basso’s teammate, Sang Hwang, in another feature about the Clan’s men’s team, which went finished the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) season with a 17-1 record. Hwang is considered the team’s unsung hero and has started 29 games in his collegiate career. "Sang is the consummate team player," said Koch. "I have played him at forward, outside mid, central mid and even at right back. He is a very versatile player and I have immense respect for him as a footballer and as a person."
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Four different players scored for the SFU men’s soccer team to help the Clan advance to the NAIA’s Association of Independent Institutions conference finals this weekend. Anthony DiNicolo, Anders Tetlie, Joseph Martin, and John Hodnett notched goals as SFU beat Cal State San Marcos 4-1.

Members of the SFU football team paid tribute to former teammate Bernd Dittrich on Remembrance Day prior to heading on the road for their last game of the season. Dittrich, who died on November 11, 2009, was honored by his teammates, who placed a football on the 50-yard-line at Terry Fox Field. The Clan is in Arcata, Calif., tomorrow to take on the Humboldt State.

SFU’s women’s soccer team is also headed to the NAIA playoffs after compiling a 9-4-3 GNAC record. Ranked second going into the 2010 Association of Independent Institutions Championship, SFU won four of its last regular-season games. The winner of the championship receives an automatic berth to the NAIA national championships, according to

On the mat: SFU’s women’s wrestling team registered 35 points and claimed the overall title last weekend at the 2010 Hargobind Invitational in Surrey. Danielle Lappage and Helen Maroulis led the way for the Clan, reported

Hoops action: Eastern Washington University handed SFU’s women’s basketball team a 76-63 exhibition loss Sunday in Cheney, Wash. Clan sophomore Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe led all players with 20 points and 13 rebounds, reported She also had three assists and a pair of blocks,
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