SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - October 25, 2010

October 25, 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. 22 through 8:30 a.m. today,Monday, Oct. 25.


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 PostLowman 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 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.

Follow-up story No. 1:

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.

Follow-up story No. 2:


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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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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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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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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