SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - October 8, 2010

October 8, 2010

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A look at how Simon Fraser University and its people made news: Oct. 1-8, 2010


  • The news website of turned an SFU news release into a story on the installation Oct. 7 of Andrew Petter as SFU’s ninth president. Several radio and TV stations also used the release. The Victoria Times Colonist carried a short item on Petter’s installation, noting his past at UVic and his role as MLA for Saanich South from 1991 to 2001. CityTV shot the installation, but the video is not available on its website. OMNI-TV, the multicultural channel, also came up to Convocation Thursday; the video is not available. BCIT sent a camera and a student news crew. Maclean’s magazine also had a photographer there; he was on the Burnaby campus for the second day, shooting photos that could be used when the magazine’s university rankings come out next month. story:


  • The International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP) released Oct. 8 a new research report "that demonstrates the clear failure of U.S. marijuana prohibition and supports calls for evidence-based models to legalize and regulate the use of cannabis." One of the authors is Benedikt Fischer of SFU Health Sciences and the Centre for Applied Research in Addictions and Mental Health.
    The ICSDP told media: “The new report, entitled Tools for debate: U.S. federal government data on cannabis prohibition, uses 20 years of data collected by surveillance systems funded by the U.S. government to highlight the failure of cannabis prohibition in America." 
    The British Medical Journal carried an editorial that concluded: "The evidence from Tools for Debate is not only that the prohibition system is not achieving its aims, but that more efforts in the same direction only worsen the results." The report (PDF): British Medical Journal:

  • Earlier, criminologist Neil Boyd wrote a guest column for The Vancouver Sun, challenging the theory of the outgoing director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, that making illegal drugs more freely available will lead to more 'public health damage.'
    Wrote Boyd, in part: "While adult cannabis use in the Netherlands is not penalized (in marked contrast to Britain, Canada and the United States), the Dutch rates of consumption are much lower than ours. Put differently, there is greater availability for potential users, without fear of harassment, and yet both Dutch youth and Dutch adults are much less likely to consume than the citizens of Britain, Canada and the United States." Full story:


  • The Vancouver Sun looked at how "a handful of bloggers are shaking up city politics with their hard-hitting views." It quoted public policy prof Kennedy Stewart, who said there's more vitriol in blogs here than elsewhere. "What is really worrying, however, is how the mainstream media picks up and reports on usually unsubstantiated blog stories." Full story:

  • The Vancouver Sun also told readers how the B.C. Liberals "plan to sell the (HST) tax with a 'lunchroom' PR campaign rather than a slick TV advertising blitz." SFU marketing prof Lindsay Meredith was in the story: "Taxpayers love to hear how you are going to cut back the overall cost of the burden of government. So I certainly would be focusing very hard on the amount of actual dollar savings."  Full story:

  • The Vancouver Courier covered a presentation to Vancouver city council, on the contentious Hornby Street bike lane, by Gordon Price, a former councillor and director of the SFU City Program.
    “‘It's a click moment,’ he told council as he stood at the lectern in the chambers. ‘There are times in the growth of the city when networks begin to fill in, when connections are made, when the infrastructure gets to a certain point where things just go...’ He snapped his fingers. ‘’" Full story:

  • The Mission City Record reported that civic leaders in BC now plan to press federal cabinet ministers and BC Conservative MPs to pay a larger share of RCMP policing.“Rob Gordon, director of SFU's School of Criminology, supports a provincial police force replacing the RCMP for all but federal policing matters and predicts costs would come down. But he said . . . . there's no chance now to form a provincial force and terminate the RCMP in 2012.” Full story:

  • The Kamloops Daily News began a story with: “There is a popular tax in B.C. -- at least to two academics and an audience in Kamloops Thursday evening.”  SFU economist Nancy Olewiler used the words “a very popular tax” to apply to BC’s carbon tax; “not the other one (HST)." Full story not available.

  • The Georgia Straight told readers how political journalist Lawrence Martin has a new book out: Harperland: The Politics of Control, which examines Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s command-and-control regime.  In that context, the Straight asked Ravi Patel, fourth-year political science student at SFU: “What is your level of trust in Prime Minister Stephen Harper?” The answer began: “Not that high. He runs a very tight-knit ship, very authoritarian, like they won’t allow for any dissent.” Full story:

  • National media covered heavily the cancellation by Defence Minister Peter MacKay of a speech at National Defence headquarters by the outspoken executive director of the Canadian Islamic Congress, Imam Zijad Delic. Several media outlets such as National Post noted: "Imam Delic, 41, came to Canada from Bosnia and obtained his PhD from Simon Fraser University." (As in EdD, 2006.)  Full story:


  • Thanks (or no thanks) to hatcheries in Alaska and Japan, the Pacific ocean is becoming "overcrowded with salmon.”  That from a Globe and Mail interview with Randall Peterman of SFU’s School of Resource and Environmental Management.
    The Canada-U.S. research team on which Peterman worked “sees trouble on the horizon.” Including hatchery fish dominating the ocean, competition for food, and interbreeding of hatchery and wild salmon.Full story:  Stories also ran on A-Channel TV in Victoria, and on the seafood industry website CFAX Radio in Victoria also lined up Peterman for an interview today. (Article in Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamic Management and Ecosystem Science: SFU news release:
    Peterman also was on the BC Almanac show on CBC Radio, and spoke with AM1150 Radio in Kelowna.

  • The Burnaby-based Down Syndrome Research Foundation is shutting down its state-of-the-art brain scanner for six months (for the second straight year) due to lack of government funding, Burnaby Now reported. "The foundation got the scanner five years ago, and it's co-owned by the foundation and Simon Fraser University."  SFU's Urs Ribary, LEEF BC Leadership Chair for cognitive neuroscience in childhood health and development, was quoted. Full story:

  • GlobalTV interviewed SFU biologist Carl Lowenberger for a 10-minute segment on dengue fever, linking his research with the recently reported dengue outbreak at the Commonwealth Games site in India. Lowenberger described during the News Hour Final his research on mosquitoes and dengue fever in Colombia. (Video not available.)


  • The Canadian Press reported that BC is aiming to protect the province's fossil sites. “But  Agriculture and Lands Minister Steve Thomson downplayed calls from scientists for an all-encompassing law that prevents plundering of dinosaur finds and mining of fossil beds for cat litter.”
    This followed an earlier Canadian Press story in which SFU palaeontologist Bruce Archibald said he's met with three BC cabinet ministers over the past decade about government protection of fossil sites, “but the destruction continues.”
    The latest story (via CTV News): The initial Archibald story (via CBC News):
  • CKWX NEWS1130 reported that almost three dozen environmental scientists have written to Premier Gordon Campbell, calling for legislation to protect species at risk in BC. SFU biologist Arne Mooers: "We have the most species, but we also have some of the iconic species that really aren't found any more."  Full story:  SFU news release:


  • Criminologist John Lowman wrote an op-ed piece in the Vancouver Sun that said in part: “There is no issue over which feminists are more deeply divided than prostitution. . . . Of course we should help women exit prostitution if they want to. But we should also devise law and policy that help to protect women who do not plan to exit prostitution. The radical-feminist agenda is one of the main obstacles to achieving that goal.” Full story:
    Meanwhile, Ottawa Citizen columnist Dan Gardner slammed Ottawa for challenging the Ontario court ruling that overturned three of Canada’s prostitution laws. He contended that “most politicians and citizens don't give a damn what happens to prostitutes.” He cited 1966 research (commissioned by Ottawa) by John Lowman. Full story:  It also ran in the Victoria Times Colonist.
    An editorial in the Windsor Star slammed Ottawa for appealing the Ontario court ruling. “More than 300 (prostitutes) have either been murdered or vanished in the last 25 years. Those numbers come from John Lowman, who teaches at the school of criminology at Simon Fraser University. In a recent Vancouver Sun column, Lowman said ‘the slaughter of sex workers is a national disgrace.’" Full story:

  • The Vancouver Sun talked with lecturer Kathleen Cross of SFU Communication about a new report finding that women are still significantly under-represented and misrepresented in news media coverage despite improvement in last five years.
    “This doesn't help deal with women's inequality in the world, because men as experts becomes part of our convention on who appears to be an expert, or what an expert looks like.”
    Full story: news release: Postmedia News sent the Sun story to clients across the country, and it promptly ran in the Calgary Herald.

  • The Vancouver Sun looked at the phenomenon of young women leaping into ponds in their wedding dresses and finding “creative ways to get wet and dirty in their gowns, sometimes destroying them.”  The paper noted: “Barbara Mitchell a professor of sociology at Simon Fraser University says that traditionally, the white dress represents purity. The requisite white gown may also represent ‘some kind of repressive, constrained uniform that represents conformity.’ Full story:


  • CTV News did a story on how businesses are delaying opening at Vancouver’s struggling Olympic Village, until more of the condos sell and the population grows. Marketing prof Lindsay Meredith was quoted:
    "What comes first, the chicken or the egg? Always get the consumers first. No business will ever invest where they see an empty hole in the marketplace. They have to be able to fill those units, get a population down there, and then they can start to attract the business infrastructure that in turn will attract more consumers." Full story:

  • An article in the Globe and Mail quoted Michael Geller, former CEO of the SFU Community Trust and adjunct prof in the SFU Centre for Sustainable Community Development, as arguing that very poor people shouldn't be mixed with very rich people at Vancouver’s Olympic village—or it will affect the price of the still-unsold condos and eventually hurt taxpayers. Councillor Geoff Meggs said of Geller's comments: "It's an attempt to stigmatize people." Full story:


  • The WA Business News of Perth, Australia, reported that Australian company Navitas has extended its partnership with SFU for a further 10 years. “Navitas and the university's intermediary Fraser International College have been working together since 2006 to educate more than 1,200 international students in Burnaby, British Columbia.”  Jon Driver, V-P Academic, was quoted. Full story: SFU news release:
    Stories also appeared in Perth Now and Australia’s Business Spectator.
    Later, the Ottawa Citizen reported that Navitas wants to recruit international students and provide them with their first year of instruction at a small for-profit college to be housed on the Carleton University campus. The story noted: “Navitas has established programs at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby and the University of Manitoba . . . .” Full story:

  • Janet Steffenhagen, education reporter for The Vancouver Sun, wrote about tests for kindergarten children aimed at identifying children who might be at risk of learning difficulties. “Although many studies affirm the value of early interventions, a Simon Fraser University professor said there are difficulties with the one-shot approach to screening because children's language, cognitive and social development ‘waxes and wanes over time.’” The prof: Maureen Hoskyn, director of SFU's Centre for Research on Early Child Health and Education.   Full story:

  • The Province carried a story (with photos) about Brent Seal, SFU Business student and Convocation speaker.  “After a diagnosis of schizophrenia, Seal  . . .  slowly made a recovery. Rather than feel sorry for himself, Seal set up Students for Mental Wellness——a group to help others that's a first in Canada and is now adding chapters at other institutions.” Full story:

  • The OnCampus website of Maclean’s magazine ran a story on howSimon Fraser University students may be getting a new way to hitch a ride to school”—by aerial gondola. “’It would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 1,870 tonnes in the first year alone,’ says Gordon Harris, president and CEO of SFU Community Trust.” Full story:

  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader turned an SFU news release into a story on a new program offered by SFU and the City of Surrey at SFU’s Surrey campus. It focuses on transportation, and is organized by Gordon Price, director of the SFU City Program:
    "It's designed to promote an understanding of who at city hall is doing what, and what has to be done. We look at safety questions, transit needs, land use issues, as well as the transportation connections the area has with other jurisdictions."
    Full story:  SFU news release:
  • SFU Grad Brittany Palmer is teaching a new seminar for high-school students on how to apply for scholarships, the North Shore News reported. Palmer should know: Her mom made her apply for 30 scholarships; she got 16, collected $56,000 in her senior year, and left SFU debt-free. Full story:

  • The South Asian Link covered the visit to SFU’s Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue of Former Indian president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. He gave a public lecture. Mario Pinto, SFU’s vice-president of research, told the Link: “Dr. Kalam exemplifies the possible trek from ordinary boy to a leading scientist and to president of a country. This trajectory has led to his very simple but effective message for youth: ‘Knowledge makes you great.’” Full story:

  • A Washington Post blog reviewed a new book that criticizes as "superficial and inadequate" the research base for the education reform blueprint that President Obama released earlier this year. The authors of include Paul Shaker, prof emeritus, SFU Education. The book is The Obama Education Blueprint: Researchers Examine the Evidence. Full story:


  • The record of the Clan men’s soccer team remained unblemished at 9-0-0 after SFU defeated the Seattle Pacific University Falcons 3-2 in overtime Oct. 6, and moved into sole possession of first place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. SFU scorers were Sang Hwang (on a free kick), Helge Neumann and Joseph Martin. SFU Athletics news release:
    Earlier, the team beat the Western Washington University Vikings 1-0 at home. Full story:

  • There was a flurry of advance stories on tonight’s (Oct. 8) Shrum Bowl football game, SFU at UBC.
    The Vancouver Sun, among others, suggested it wouldn’t be gripping gridiron entertainment. “As the always brutally honest Dave Johnson, the Clan's head coach, points out, ‘we're both feeling like we're going into a gunfight with a knife.’”  The UBC coach: Shawn Olson, former assistant to Johnson. Sun story:
    The Province’s advance stories included this quote from head coach Dave Johnson: "This week has been good for our morale and our team building. Our Canadian third-string receivers have been coaching up our American first-string receivers. It's been ‘Here's how you motion', things like that. And so it's truly become a team thing, and something we needed after last week.” (That referred to the Clan’s 28-21 loss Oct. 2 to Dixie State).’" Province #1 story:
    SFU Athletics preview:
    And a Kent Gilchrist column in The Province said of the Shrum Bowl game: “What you hope is that they battle to a high-scoring draw and everyone goes home entertained. The reason for that is that both Clansmen boss Dave Johnson (the mentor) and Shawn Olson of UBC (the student) are such decent, caring head coaches.”
    Full story:

  • Also in media: Seattle Pacific University Falcons beat the Clan women’s volleyball 3-0 at SFU Burnaby. The Clan’s record now is 1-12 (1-8 GNAC). SFU Athletics press release:

  • SFU History prof Allen Seager had a letter to the editor in The Vancouver Sun on the Canadian history behind the Commonwealth Games. “The original impetus came from Canadian Olympic manager/coach Bobby Robinson, of Hamilton.” The letter:

  • Media outlets reporting on Carol Huynh’s gold-medal victory in 48-kg wrestling at the Commonwealth Games in India noted her SFU background. The Globe and Mail, for one, told readers: “She grew up in Hazelton, 290 kilometres east of Prince Rupert, B.C., and at 15 she joined her high school wrestling team. Both of her sisters had wrestled. Upon graduation in 1998 she was recruited by Simon Fraser University where she earned her degree in psychology.” Full story:


  • The Globe and Mail looked at how Canada evaluates the qualifications and suitability of potential immigrants. The paper noted: “Take an experiment that Don DeVoretz, a professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser University, recently conducted with students in his immigration course. The class determined whether a sample of 1,000 randomly chosen Canadians would meet the government's stringent points rules for immigrating to their own country. The result? Just 38 per cent qualified.” Full story:

  • The news-and-commentary website of reported Ottawa will offer skilled Canadian immigrants intern experience in federal departments and agencies.  “The program is a small step, considering notable problems immigrants to Canada have with credentializing foreign education and having skills and experience recognized, but it’s an important one, says Peter Hall, an associate professor in the urban studies program at Simon Fraser University.”  Full story:


  • International security expert André Gerolymatos, SFU historian, was on CityTV talking about the new “travel alert” covering feared Al-Qaeda terrorism in Europe.  Video:


  • The Georgia Straight's "Geek Speak" feature starred Amanda Lastoria, SFU PhD student in publishing. While talking about what makes a good e-book ("taking advantage of things like hyperlinks and interaction") she said: "Personally, I prefer print. That’s not a very popular answer, but I do, because I’m a big reader of art books and more illustrated materials that I don’t think are quite there in e-books yet."  Full story:

  • The Georgia Straight carried a story in which SFU President Andrew Petter discussed a $10-million gift to SFU’s school for the Contemporary Arts. This from mining company Goldcorp Inc., which has been criticized for its practices and policies in South America.
    “I think it would be horrible, ironic, and counterproductive if arts institutions or universities were to prevent individuals or corporations from doing good things because some people object to some other things they’re doing.” Full story:

  • The Georgia Straight also noted that Jack Lee, pipe-sergeant of the SFU Pipe Band, won a “champion of champions” Clasp award at the Northern Meeting piping competition in Inverness, Scotland. As a result, he’s invited back to Scotland for the last big bagpipe event of the season, the Glenfiddich Solo Piping Championships, on Oct. 30. Full story:


  • The North Shore Outlook picked up a Surrey-North Delta Leader story on municipal concerns about rising RCMP costs. Rob Gordon, director of SFU Criminology, predicted policing costs would decrease if BC created its own regional police force. Full story:

  • The Province carried an Edmonton Journal story from Sept. 24 on competition among exchange-traded fund companies (ETFs) and institutions offering no-fee banking. The story cited a study by  SFU Business prof  Karen Ruckman, “who found Canadian fees were 50 per cent higher than American fees.”  Full story:

ALSO in the NEWS

  • The SFU connection of philanthropist Yosef Wosk was mentioned in a North Shore News story on his gift of $250,000 to North Vancouver's Presentation House Gallery. Full story:

  • The blog featured Jeff Geipel, executive director of Vancouver Fair Trade, and a political science grad from SFU. “I started Fair Trade Vancouver after promoting Fair Trade with an Oxfam club at Simon Fraser University.” Full story and video:


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