SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - November 1, 2010

November 1, 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, Oct. 29 through 8:30 a.m. today, Monday, Nov. 1.


You don’t often see a Hells Angel member leave their gangster lifestyle, which makes Joe Calendino’s story in The Province that much more amazing. He had a reputation for being a tough guy when he was in high school and took that with him when he started wearing the Hells Angels colors. But life hit rock bottom for him when he became a crack-cocaine addict and he was kicked out of the Hells Angels. With the help of the Vancouver Police Department’s Odd Squad, Calendino has turned his life around. Today, he works with at-risk high-school students and is making a difference. “It is not common, but it does happen,” said SFU criminologist Ray Corrado. “If you have left in good standing and haven’t ratted anyone out, it can happen.” It’s no surprise to Corrado that the Hells Angels would cut ties with one of its members when drug use is involved. “The trouble with taking drugs when you are a gang member is you are unreliable. There is a point where you are going to make mistakes if you are ripped. If you are taking hard drugs, you are risking the whole group and if it threatens the business, you’re going to cause trouble.”

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Despite the negativity towards consuming too much candy, Halloween is more popular than ever, according to SFU marketing professor Lindsay Meredith. He told The Vancouver Sun that spending for Halloween has been “astronomical” in the past 10 years. "We know chocolate is evil, we know candy is evil," said Meredith, who noted that Halloween is one way of rationalizing consuming a product that we know isn't good for us. "And we don't need a lot of encouragement; candy is easy to market as a comfort or a reward for being good."

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The Vancouver Sun wrote a feature about UniverCity and provided an update from SFU Community Trust president and CEO Gordon Harris. Built on the sustainable community model of environment, equity, economy, and education, UniverCity has come a long way in the past 10 years. “In its early days," Harris told the Sun, "UniverCity had green-building guidelines and sustainability guidelines. Over the past three years, however, the trust has felt it needed to raise the bar and push things further. While we described ourselves as a model sustainable community, the world had caught up to us and, in some instances, had arguably got ahead of us. So we set about from going from having guidelines to having requirements." The SFU Community Trust has been working closely with the development community and the City of Burnaby to set a new standard that is achievable and accessible for UniverCity’s future.

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SFU’s Carole Taylor and Gail Anderson were selected by The Vancouver Sun for its B.C.’s 100 Women of Influence list. “It wasn't an easy task to come up with just 100 women of influence in B.C., as so many women are accomplishing so many amazing things. But these women, from seven distinct fields, deserve to be recognized,” said the newspaper. Taylor was recently announced as SFU’s next chancellor, while Anderson is a criminology professor noted for her work in forensic entomology.

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Who knew charts would become such a hot issue? The Victoria Times Colonist included SFU public policy professor Jon Kesselman in its weekly Thumbs up/Thumbs down feature. The paper praised him for “bluntly trashing the tax charts” used by Premier Gordon Campbell in his televised address last week that exaggerated provincial income-tax rates.

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The Globe and Mail highlighted research by SFU business professor Dianne Cyr that shows “there are distinct website design preferences for different groups – whether in different country locations or for men and women.” Cyr has looked at cross-cultural and gender preferences in website design and what she calls “social presence” impact on website users. According to the paper, “For instance, women tended to prefer websites with less clutter and fewer graphics. They tended to seek content to ‘engage them, whereas men were more utilitarian.’”

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The debate in The National Post is whether the biggest technological revolution known to mankind proved to be accurate. According to the paper, there were tremendous expectations for information technology (IT) and some argue today that predictions of increased productivity never came to fruition. Of course, IT did change the way we work and how organizations communicate around the world, and now there are new expectations with the arrival of IT Revolution 2.0. This time around, the paper says researchers, educators, and high-performing companies are addressing areas to “bridge the gap between the potential of technology to dramatically improve both productivity and innovation and what really takes place on the ground.” SFU business professor Blaize Reich said the key for IT Revolution 2.0 to succeed is improving organizational competence to manage change. “Change is hard. People get used to doing things in certain ways and even if there’s better ways of doing it, it’s still difficult to adapt. Some organizations are good at change competence, but often they’re not,” she said.

Full story (in The Vancouver Sun):


On her Vancouver Sun blog, Barbara Yaffe talked about SFU international relations professor Alexander Moens’ suggestion that Canadians shoot root for Republicans in this week’s U.S. mid-term elections. He said Canada has more to gain “from a more right of centre approach in the U.S. Congress.”

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A Thousand Dreams: Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and the Fight for its Future is a book co-written by SFU criminologist Neil Boyd and was reviewed in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Boyd and his co-authors – Vancouver Sunreporter Lori Culbert and former City of Vancouver mayor Larry Campbell – provide an informal history of the Downtown Eastisde and focuses on the community’s challenges. The biggest hurdles are drug addiction and homelessness. best available data. “A Thousand Dreams provides considerable insight into multiple urban health problems and the resilience of urban communities,” writes Dr. Don C. Des Jarlais. “For the scientific data, one may turn to the many research reports of the University of British Columbia Centre for Excellence in AIDS, and for the perspective of young drug users in the Downtown Eastside, I would suggest the recent paper by Fast and colleagues. But this book is useful reading for anyone wanting to understand the complexities of urban health.”

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The Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts in Vancouver should be removed, Anthony Perl, director of SFU’s urban studies program, told The Globe and Mail. He said they were originally built as the first steps toward a “metropolitan urban highway scheme,” but that plan is no longer valid so the viaducts should be taken down. Perl added the viaducts are impeding Vancouver’s growth. “It’s an impediment. We need to get rid of this no man’s land,” Perl said in the paper. “If we’re going to complete the development of downtown and add more space for affordable housing, it’s going to be in the eastern part and as long as we have this no man’s land created by these elevated roads, it’s going to be an obstacle or a limitation on how we can do that. Now is the time to be bold.” Perl also appeared on CBC Radio, CKWX 1130, and Global TV.

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Police officers holding a suspect in a headlock in a line-up was wrong 30 years ago, said SFU criminologist Neil Boyd in The Toronto Star. The article details the police line-up Ivan Henry had to endure as a suspect in an assault and rape case. He was convicted of the crime and imprisoned for 27 years until he was acquitted last week by the B.C. Supreme Court and released. Boyd said despite advances in investigative tools, there are still failures in criminal investigations. “We now know eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable,” he said.

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Boyd also spoke with The Province about the Kimberly Proctor murder case. He said youths tend to start committing crimes when they’re 15 years old but their crime level drops when they reach 19 or 20, and unlikely to reoffend as adults. As a result, Boyd explained that is why the names of young offenders cannot be revealed publicly. Province columnist Jon Ferry argues the two teens convicted of Proctor’s gruesome murder do not deserve protection. "There is a principle," Boyd said, "that they are young offenders and pretty malleable and we don't want to stigmatize them any more than is necessary."

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University Affairs did a story on the new site for SFU Contemporary Arts. Theatre production student Diana Magallon said the difference the school’s previous home on Burnaby Mountain to the new home at the former Woodward’s department store is “astronomical.” She added: “We used to have portables tucked away in a corner of the campus and no one knew what we were except for people in theatre arts. It’s nice to have all the disciplines in one space – not to mention we’re downtown.”

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Shutout victory: SFU’s women’s soccer team beat Montana State Billings 1-0 to improve to 8-3-2 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference action. Clan co-captain Lauren Lachlan scored the lone goal for SFU, while goalkeeper Amelia Ng notched the shutout on the road. “This is a very tough place to play, and I thought we came in and fought through some injuries and gutted out a win,” said SFU head coach Shelley Howieson on “It was a fairly even game and I saw some things today that bode well for our future.”

Perfect season continues: Roman Doutkevitch and Josh Bennett each scored once against Montana State Billings to keep the SFU men’s soccer team’s perfect season intact at 16-0. The Clan finish their regular season next week at home with two games. “It was a very tough game against a quality team, MSU-Billings are a physical and hard working team and playing them at their place is always a daunting task,” said SFU head coach Alan Koch on “But we battled through 90 minutes and while we didn’t find our continuity we had a good effort, particularly from Josh Bennett, who engineered both out goals.” SFU’s Hide Ozawa made three saves to get the shutout and win.

Humbled by Humboldt State: SFU’s football team dropped its record to 1-7 following a 35-14 loss to Humboldt State last Saturday in Burnaby. Clan running back Gabe Ephard scored on a TD run, while SFU defender Adam Berger ran back an interception for a TD to account for all of the team’s scoring. “(SFU coaches) just didn’t do our jobs today, we didn’t put our players, either on offence or defence, in a spot to win this game,” said SFU head coach Dave Johnson “I thought our players played hard, which is good to see and Humboldt is a team that just doesn’t take any plays off.” This was SFU’s last home game of the season. Next week, they head to Ellensburg, Wash., to take on Central Washington.


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