SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - Oct. 22-29, 2010

October 29, 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 Oct. 22-29.


A study by the David Suzuki Foundation and Pacific Parklands Foundation examines the benefits nature provides Metro Vancouver. This includes filtering air and water or combating climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide, reports CBC News. The cash value is estimated to be $5.4 billion annually, or about $2,462 per person. Nancy Olewiler, director of SFU’s School of Public Policy, said “replacing natural resources such as wetlands with built substitutes like water-treatment plants can cost hundreds of millions of dollars while fulfilling only a fraction of the total benefits.”
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The Victoria Times Colonist spoke to a pair of SFU criminologists about the “horrific” rape and murder of teenager Kimberly Proctor. SFU’s Raymond Corrado said this case “shows a level of planning and callousness rare among young offenders.” But he added the two youths convicted of the crime show “classic indicators or symptoms of anti-social personality disorder.” In his research, Corrado said “a mix of genetic and childhood factors is now responsible for extremely violent behaviour.” Evidence through text messages between the two boys – aged 16 and 18 – showed they planned to rape and kill Proctor. An autopsy revealed she died because she couldn’t breathe after they put tape over her mouth. The teens then took her body to a trail and set it on fire. Corrado and his colleague Neil Boyd said the public should keep in perspective that incidents like this are very rare. Boyd said this case is generating lots of media stories because it’s unusual. CKNW, CFAX (Victoria) and A-Channel also spoke with Boyd, while Corrado was quoted in a second Victoria Times-Colonist story.
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Boyd also talked to CTV News about a second incident of threatening graffiti found at a North Shore school. Police won’t reveal if the incidents are connected but said the latest threat at a North Vancouver elementary school did not pose a risk to students, but a bomb-sniffing dog was dispatched to search the grounds. Earlier this month, graffiti found at a West Vancouver school said: “12 people would die that day,” according to CTV News. Boyd told the news station it’s difficult to determine the motive behind these incidents. "The real question is whether there's a lot to it or whether it's just somebody who's either got a very perverse sense of humour or is extremely alienated or is actually very dangerous.”
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SFU criminologist David MacAlister authored a report for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association showing British Columbia had twice as many jail and police-related deaths than Ontario during a recent 15-year period, said The Globe and Mail. The study said B.C. had the “highest number of deaths (per) year of any of (the) six provinces and territories for which numbers were available.” What’s interesting is the fact that Ontario has three times the population of British Columbia, yet B.C. had the greatest number of deaths per capita, with one per 254,550 people a year, compared with one for every 1.63 million people in Ontario. “We have what looks like people dying at a higher rate in British Columbia than in any other jurisdiction in the country that provided data,” said MacAlister.
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It’s no surprise to see crime statistics dropping in Surrey, said Rob Gordon, director of SFU criminology. In The Province, he credited “positive redevelopment” in the community that is displacing “drug addicts and drug houses” with young families and condos. "You look for crack shacks and then you get out the bulldozer," Gordon said. "That process removes the problem people as well as problem buildings." Gordon added crime rates are going down across Canada because proactive crime-reduction strategies are working.
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Don’t expect any changes to how B.C. is policed, according to the Victoria Times Colonist. In an interview with new solicitor general Rich Coleman, the former Mountie said he would keep the status quo of using a mixture of RCMP and municipal police departments in the province. "I think the biggest thing is that I want to make sure the integration issues go forward aggressively," he told the paper. Some people, such as former solicitor general Kash Heed, advocate creating a regional police force, claiming the current situation isn’t effective. Coleman said it’s up to B.C.’s communities to tell him if they want changes made. “I think these guys have to decide that they're going to integrate across the regions," Coleman said. "I always said that when I was the minister before. We had a number of integrated teams we started. I don't know if the initiative is as strong as it used to be, but it has to be strong again." SFU’s Gordon agrees with Heed that reform is needed but doesn’t think anything will happen. "I think it's a very clear signal from the premier – and that signal is that there's going to be no police reform in this province for some time,” he said.
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SFU criminologist John Lowman’s research was cited in a Vancouver Sun article about legalizing prostitution. The story quotes a Vancouver woman who said the absence of regulation for sex workers “means there are few official avenues to turn to when things go wrong.” Susan Davis is part of a group of sex-trade workers in B.C. challenging the constitutionality of Canada’s prostitution laws. According to Lowman, he estimated there are between 1,500 to 2,000 prostitutes in Vancouver at any given time.
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In another story by The National Post, Lowman said “it is a national disgrace” that Canada has not done more to help sex-trade workers. The article follows up on the recent ruling by an Ontario judge that declared three sections of Canada’s prostitution laws as unconstitutional. According to Lowman, an estimated 300 sex-trade workers, “nearly all of them street prostitutes,” have disappeared or been murdered in the past 25 years. Also, “less than 20 per cent of the sex trade is street-based, yet it is where about 90 per cent of all charges are laid by police,” the article said. “Doing nothing has played an important role in the deaths and disappearance of 300 women,” said Lowman. “It’s a national disgrace.”
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The Burnaby NOW wrote a positive editorial about the appointment of Carole Taylor as SFU’s new chancellor. “The university is getting a rare mix of intelligence, diplomacy, political street smarts and – how can we say this – a person who seems to really "get" that a university has a much larger role to play in today's society (and our city),” said the paper. “Taylor has already said she wants to break the ‘ivory tower’ mould and find more ways to communicate knowledge and experience to the community and create more conversations and debate in the real world.”
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Starting your own business is a stressful and costly affair. Burnaby’s Business Centre Solutions realizes this and is collaborating with SFU’s Venture Connections program to provide $200,000 worth of in-kind services, meaning student entrepreneurs get free office space. For the next five years, a different student business gets to use the space. “We are very excited about our partnership with Simon Fraser University,” said Irene Barr, president of Business Centre Solutions, in the Burnaby NOW. “The students are hard working, energetic and a great fit for our business.” SFU business student Matias Marquez is benefitting from this program., his new business, which sells gift cards online, is using the office space this year and provides Marquez with a place to showcase his business and meet with clients. The centre also gives him a professional receptionist to handle his calls, manage mail, and do some paperwork. SFU Venture Connection manager Vaune Kolber provides valuable support for students. "SFU recognizes the importance of entrepreneurship," Kolber said. "If students are leaving their studies and are well on their way to developing a business, it contributes to their overall experience in the university."
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The capture of a lone male bear on the Burnaby Mountain has stopped the number of bear sightings on campus, said the Burnaby NewsLeader. According to the Conservation Officer Service, there have been 22 calls about bear sightings at SFU since July. In recent weeks, SFU Security reports receiving at least one bear sighting daily, usually near areas where there trash containers and compactors are located. "It's been a very busy bear season in general in the Lower Mainland and the Sea-to-Sky," said Sgt. Chris Doyle with the Conservation Officer Service. "The natural food supply, the berry crops, weren't as good as they have been in other years, so the bears go into developed areas looking for non-natural food." SFU acting director of campus security Steven Maclean said everyone on the Burnaby campus is aware of the need to report bear sightings and also better manage their garbage. "There's historically been bears on campus, it's nothing new to us. We've known there's been a family of bears up here since who knows when. It's just this year they've been particularly active," he said.
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SFU student Ruth Adams is working with BC Ferries to develop a cycling route to connect Tsawwassen, the Tsawwassen First Nation and the Tswwassen Ferry Terminal together. Eventually, she would like to see the route – called the Great Blue Heron Way – linked to various First Nations on Vancouver Island and across the Lower Mainland. Adams, who is a Tswwassen First Nation elder, is in SFU’s sustainable community development program. She told the South Delta Leader that the current bike route to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal “is not very encouraging.” Ideally, Adams would like to see a two-way cycling path and pedestrian walkway on the south side of the causeway.
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BC Hydro has spent almost $500 million to convince its customers to be more environmentally conscious but doesn’t have much to show for it, according to The Globe & Mail. While British Columbians are helping the environment, such as buying energy-efficient appliances and using LED Christmas lights, they are also plugging in more gadgets. This negates the good that they’ve done. “It’s called the rebound effect,” SFU environmental economist Mark Jaccard said in the paper. “We have more efficient devices, but we also have more devices.” He has just finished a joint academic review comparing conservation programs offered by North American utilities and found BC Hydro to be a leader. But the paper said BC Hydro is in a field of underachievers. Jaccard’s research “concluded that major subsidy programs ‘are not nearly as effective as we thought they were.’”
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If the Reform Party can do it, can the new Online Party Canada (OPC) achieve the same on Canada’s political scene? Launched a few weeks ago, the party takes positions on issues based on online voting results from its members, said a Vancouver Sun article. So far, OPC members are in favour of ending Canada’s military involvement in Afghanistan, legalizing marijuana and prostitution, making public transit and post-secondary education free, and eliminating unions from government operations. SFU communication professor Richard Smith isn’t convinced the OPC has much of a chance, but said its presence may encourage other political parties to use online voting as a valuable tool. "What is possible/likely is that this party has some influence in how politics evolves in Canada, and if that is the case, they will have achieved their objective, I suspect,” Smith told the paper.
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The Vancouver Sun did a two-page spread focusing on shark conservation in its weekend edition. According to the piece, shark populations around the world continue to drop despite the Species At Risk Act, which provides for the “conservation and recovery of individual species, and has already been applied to sharks, such as the endangered basking shark in B.C.” SFU associate biology professor Nick Dulvy said the lack of research makes it difficult to justify shark conservation. "There are probably about 150 global experts in shark, skate, and ray ecology and conservation and probably 300 species threatened or near threatened,” Dulvy told the Sun. “We've got to save two species each. If you're a primate ecologist studying monkeys, there's probably 20 monkey scientists for every monkey species."
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Dulvy was also interviewed for follow-up stories in The Vancouver Sun’s series on sharks. The articles focused on the ability to purchase shark fins and other at-risk animal species in Metro Vancouver.
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SFU business graduate Claudia Li is in the second follow-up story for her role in creating Shark Truth, an organization that supports the ban of importing shark fins.
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SFU health sciences adjunct professor Martin Shain said in The Vancouver Sun that employers have a duty to provide a psychologically safe workplace. "This duty, simply put, requires employers to make a reasonable effort to protect the mental health of employees,” said Shain. In a report titled, Tracking the Perfect Legal Storm, he said “the law has rapidly evolved over the past decade to the point where employers can be held liable not just for inflicting mental illness, defined as a medical condition such as clinical depression, but mental injury, a far looser term.” While some lawyers take exception to Shain’s opinion, he maintains employers have a “new legal duty.”
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Get that Freak: Homophobia and Transphobia, a book co-authored by SFU criminologist Brian Burtch about gay and transgendered youths, was featured in the New Westminster NewsLeader. Burtch’s writing partner, Rebecca Haskell, told the paper that bullying isn’t the only form of abuse that teens face. “The teens we spoke to told us homophobia was something they encountered every day,” Haskell said. The real concern is these youths feel many teachers, administrators and other students aren’t addressing the issue.
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SFU biologist Nick Dulvy told Postmedia News that Canada needs to show “much more leadership on protection of marine species” in response to a study stating 20 per cent of the earth’s vertebrates are threatened with extinction. The study, released by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) this week to coincide with a biodiversity conservation conference in Nagoya, Japan, highlights the need for countries around the world to step up their efforts. Dulvy, who is also co-chair of the IUCN’s shark specialist group, said many “sharks, rays and fish are now threatened with extinction because they are ‘largely unseen and unmonitored collateral damage of fisheries.’” He added the IUCN study offers evidence that conservation efforts are effective globally but much more can be done. Dulvy also spoke to The Vancouver Sun and did a series of eight interviews with CBC-Radio stations across Canada.
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The Aga Khan, hereditary leader of the world’s 15 million Ismaili Muslims, has “championed pluralism, and Ismailis have earned a reputation as quick adapters in societies that welcome diversity, including Canada,” reports Maclean’s magazine. And having to fit in to their surrounding culture has made Ismailis “extremely adaptive,” said Amyn Sajoo, an Ismaili author and a visiting scholar to SFU. “You don’t misread tradition,” he said, “as a comfortable home where you can hide from changing realities.”
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The Georgia Straight did a long feature story about post-secondary school options for those who live south of the Fraser River. The article noted from Abbotsford to Delta, there are only three public post-secondary schools – SFU Surrey, Kwantlen, and University of the Fraser Valley – and they barely fill the need. The trio offers a total of 18,113 full-time equivalent seats, while data shows the Fraser Region “will be home to more than 200,000 18- to 29-year-olds – the age group most likely to attend post secondary” within the next five years.
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The National Post wrote an article about an SFU grad that decided to pursue his MBA in China instead of getting it in Canada. Jeffrey Pi got his economics degree here and also attended the Vancouver Film School. He participated in an SFU exchange program and spent a semester learning Mandarin in China, but that was the extent of his exposure to Asia at that point, the story said. "The MBA for me was about moving away from the freelance/ creative life and into a more corporate environment," Pi said. "I also knew I wanted to come to China and see and hopefully be part of all the explosive growth that was happening." Asia’s leading business schools are hoping to attract more students like Pi, who has an MBA from Shanghai-based China Europe International Business School.
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In The Globe and Mail’s Campus Report about teaching careers, the paper offers advice to those thinking about becoming a teacher. Seeking insight from various Canadian universities, SFU recommends: “With math and science teachers in high demand, education students who specialize in these fields will be at an advantage.”
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SFU economist Jon Kesselman said Premier Gordon Campbell used “deceptive” charts in his televised appearance in reference to the HST. "If a student did this, I would say this is deceptive, maybe intentionally deceptive," he told The Vancouver Sun. "I would say: 'Fix this and resubmit.'" The charts showed B.C. residents paid less income tax than other provinces. While that is true, critics claim the charts were created in a way that exaggerates the data. "It looks like it was either sloppy or ... intended to exaggerate the difference, even if B.C. is the lowest,” Kesselman said. He also spoke to CKNW’s The Bill Good Show.
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Kesselman was interviewed in another Vancouver Sun story, this time suggesting Premier Campbell would’ve been better off reducing the HST by one point instead of announcing a 15 per cent cut in income taxes. "There's this notion that income taxes are more damaging to the economy, more distorting," he told the paper. "But in the real world, with the institutions we have, there is little or no difference except for higher earners."
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British Columbians would benefit more from a reduction in the HST than cutting income taxes, Kesselman continued his argument in a column by Don Cayo in The Vancouver Sun. While both Cayo and the SFU prof agree the HST is a good thing, they disagree on Campbell’s move this week. “I do subscribe to the belief — confirmed by B.C.’s experience with Campbell’s huge income tax cut in 2001 as well as a lot of other tax reductions in other jurisdictions over time — that tax cuts will pay for themselves eventually by generating more revenue,” Cayo wrote.
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SFU fish biologist John Reynolds was part of a panel testifying before the Cohen commission this week as part of the inquiry into the decline of sockeye salmon in B.C.’s Fraser River. The Globe and Mail reports the panel was made up of “highly informed individuals who could help the Cohen commission understand what the words ‘conservation, sustainability and stewardship’ mean in relation to British Columbia’s salmon resource.” Reynolds said his definition of conversation refers to “the restoration of salmon and their habitats,” but he emphasized the importance of promoting different species of salmon. “There’s strong evidence that salmon can evolve quickly … (but) the fish need as much room to manoeuvre as possible," he told the paper.
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According to Business in Vancouver, SFU Business has been ranked 38th out of 40 universities around the world, based on the number of academic articles published between 1998 and 2008. International Business Review chose SFU and the University of Western Ontario (ranked fifth overall) as the only two Canadian schools to make its list. SFU Business dean Daniel Shapiro said being recognized improves the school’s “global standing” when it comes to recruitment. “It certainly helps to attract visiting scholars and students at the graduate level, particularly at the PhD level,” he told the paper. CFAX radio (Victoria) and A-Channel (Victoria) also covered this story.
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The latest data shows Canadians are doing a lot of home shopping across the border. According to The Vancouver Sun, Canadians now make up 23 per cent of all international purchases, an increase of 11 per cent since 2008. Mexicans are typically the top foreign buyers of real estate, but right now rank a distant second at 10 per cent. SFU business professor Andrey Pavlov told the paper this is a great time to invest in U.S. property in depressed areas of the country. “The only question is whether to do it now or a year or two from now,” he said. One example of the trend is the fact that Canadians bought more homes (405) in Phoenix, Ariz., than Californians last April.
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Complaints against telecommunications companies increased 17 per cent this year, according to The Vancouver Sun, but SFU communication professor Richard Smith said that may not necessarily mean service is getting worse. Instead, it may be because consumers are getting savvy about how to lodge complaints. "They're not super happy with the service, and never have been, but there's a growing awareness of an ability to complain to somebody and who to complain to."
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SFU Health Sciences faculty and students are working with a Burnaby group to assist African grandmothers caring for children orphaned by parents who have died from AIDS. This is part of the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s campaign to raise awareness about the issue in Africa. The local chapter is called Burnaby Gogos – “gogo” is Zulu for grandmother – and is holding a fundraiser November 4.
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There are no good or evil foods, SFU dietician Rosie Dhaliwal told columnist Randy Shore. "We use the 80-20 rule that 80 per cent of our food should come from the food groups like those in the Canada Food Guide and 20 per cent can come from treats," Dhaliwal said in a Vancouver Sun blog post. "All foods can fit in the diet in moderation. I really believe in enjoying the experience of eating, so I don't like to label things as junk food or give them negative connotations." Shore examines the message parents send to children when they take them trick-or-treating but then restrict how much candy they can eat afterwards.
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A writer for the U.S.-based website crossed the border to pen a feature about UniverCity and the green benefits of urbanism. SFU Community Trust planning manager said Dale Mikkelsen they want to prove that “compact urban forms can work outside of cities proper.”
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SFU public policy professor Jonathan Kesselman’s conclusion that expanding the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is the right thing to do is gaining traction. According to The Globe and Mail, Kesselman’s new research paper compared “all the key pension reform proposals on the table, (and) concludes that a bigger CPP, with a mandatory increase in premiums as well as benefits, is the hands-down best choice.” The federal government and many provinces are considering the proposal, and now Kesselman is getting support from colleagues. Professor Jack Mintz, director of the School of Policy Studies at the University of Calgary, is warming up to the idea. “If there was some enhancement of CPP, I think I could buy that,” he said.
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Science website published our news release about SFU molecular biologists who discovered a gene whose job is to ensure that chromosomes are correctly distributed during the formation of eggs and sperm in mammals, including humans. This discovery could help treat and prevent gene-based diseases, such as Down’s, Turner and Klinefelter’s syndromes, many forms of cancer, and infertility. “My hope is that this work will help us better understand how genetic material is distributed through each generation of mammals, including humans,” said SFU geneticist David Baillie. “We’ll be able to do this by examining how mutations in xnd-1 interact with mutations in other genes known to act during meiosis to form eggs and sperm.”
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Heribert Adam, SFU sociology professor emeritus, and his wife, Kogila Moodley, are recipients of the 20th annual Thakore Visiting Scholar Award, said the Mill Woods Mosaic. The pair met and fell in love in South Africa in the 1960s. It was a time when there were separate universities for different ethnic groups, and racial segregation also extended to relationships under the country’s apartheid system. Adam and Moodley could have been imprisoned for their relationship. The couple have gained international recognized in the past 35 years for their research, books and lectures on peacemaking, human rights and non-violent change in divided societies, especially South Africa.
(Story not available online.)


Andre Gerolymatos, SFU historian and international security expert, was on CKNW and on Astral Radio's six stations in the Okanagan, talking about the pending, if delayed, return to Canada of Omar Khadr, self-admitted al-Qaeda terrorist, killer and spy. The message from Gerolymatos: "He'll be back in Canada in a year, bitter and angry. Just what we need."

The director of SFU’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT), Deborah Harford, is referenced in a Canadian Insurance – Top Broker magazine editorial. Editor Daryl Angier wrote about Harford’s appearance at the RIMS Canada Conference in Edmonton. In her talk, Harford outlined “how climate change is having varying effects on the predictability of the water supply around the world, ranging from disastrous flooding in the UK to prolonged drought in Australia. This, in turn, affects even non-fossil fuel-related energy sources such as hydro-electric power generation that rely on a steady flow of water.”


Fantastic freshmen: The Province focused on three first-year players with SFU’s football team who are making an impact this season. Lineman Mattias Goossen, linebacker Casey Chin, and quarterback Greg Bowcott have won starting jobs with The Clan as true freshmen as the school plays its first season in the NCAA Division 2. Clan head coach Dave Johnson is pleased with his homegrown talent leap-frogging over junior college recruits for playing time. "We made a real push to get into the California junior college market," Johnson said of this past year's recruiting efforts, "but believe it or not, some of those kids are being beat out by B.C. high school kids." In SFU’s last game versus Dixie State, Bowcott led the Clan to a season-high 504 years, including going 16-for-36 for 233 yards and a rushing TD. "Straight out of high school and competing in the trenches at Div. 2, that's pretty much unheard of," said Johnson.
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New assistant coach: Jeff Drinkwine is joining SFU’s men’s basketball team as an assistant coach. Clan bench boss James Blake said Drinkwine brings extensive NCAA and NAIA experience. In his most recent job as head coach for Evergreen State, he had a 60-31 record and took the school to two NAIA championships. “I’m incredibly pleased to bring Jeff aboard our staff, I feel his experience really rounds out our coaching staff,” Blake said on “He will assist in our recruiting, and having coached in this conference before his experience and advice will be invaluable.”
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Undefeated: SFU’s men’s soccer team extended its winning streak and remained unbeaten after defeating Western Washington, 4-3, last weekend in Bellingham. The No. 1-ranked Clan improved to 14-0-0 overall and kept its Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) record unblemished at 6-0-0.
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Oh-so-close: The Clan football team missed a game-tying field goal at the end of the game, losing 18-15 to the Dixie College Red Storm and dropping its record to 1-6 for the season. SFU’s Bo Palmer rushed for 194 yards, including an 80-yard TD run, in the loss. "When you look at the stats, we should have won the game," SFU head coach Dave Johnson told The Province’s Howard Tsumura. "But our youth continues to hurt us when we make mental mistakes."
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Leading the pack: SFU cross-country runner Jessica Smith is proving to be the star of the team. The North Vancouver resident has won all three races the team has entered this year, plus she has won two female athlete of the week awards, according to the North Shore News. "Jessica has been outstanding to start the season," said SFU head coach Brit Townsend. "She is undefeated this year and has been a great leader."
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