SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - Sept. 27-Oct. 1, 2010

October 1, 2010

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A look at how Simon Fraser University and its people made news: September 27-October 1, 2010.


  • The Breakfast TV show on Vancouver’s CityTV  gave eight minutes to a feature on SFU’s new for-credit bhangra dancing course—broadcast live from the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts at SFU Woodward’s. Instructor Raakhi Sinha led the TV event, along with dancing students.
    The Breakfast TV video is online at SFU’s news release on the bhangra course is at
    Breakfast TV also threw in a plug for SFU’s big Diwali Celebration, coming up at SFU’s Surrey campus on Nov. 2.
    Earlier, CBC Radio Canada International interviewed Sinha and colleague Gurpreet Sian: The Vancouver Sun also did a story:
    And the pair were featured in a Darpan magazine article. They say bhangra dance is about “passion, desire and dedication” and more than being known as the “light bulb dance” or the “windshield wiper dance.”

  • The Vancouver Sun looked at “a tougher-than-ever job market for young teachers”.  SFU’s dean of education, Kris Magnusson, was quoted as saying school districts have reduced hirings—even for teacher-on-call lists—and older teachers are delaying retirement because of the economic downturn and continued financial uncertainty. At the same time, the number of B.C. universities offering education degrees has been growing.

  • The Financial Post told readers that an executive's leadership skills can make or break a company's reputation. Can such skills be taught? “Gervase Bushe, professor of leadership and organization development at Simon Fraser University . . . puts less of an emphasis on theory (and isn't much of a fan of grading, for that matter), and more focus on getting students involved in hands-on leadership scenarios.”

  • The Financial Post ran a news release from SFU’s Faculty of Business Administration offering a certificate in corporate social responsibility. “The undergraduate certificate encourages students within SFU Business to take business courses with a focus on ethics, social responsibility, sustainable management practices and social enterprise, and to combine them with a broad variety of courses and extracurricular activities outside of the business faculty related to environmental, health, social and cultural issues,” said the news release.

  • SFU’s Surrey campus is at its maximum capacity and is renovating 50,000 sq. ft of space to accommodate more students next year, the Surrey North Delta Leader. Told readers. The paper reported that BC government has no plans to provide operational funding, then went on to quote Surrey campus executive director Joanne Curry: "We've had probably 10 meetings since then talking about the need for additional spaces, with lots of head-nodding, so it's a kind of perplexing response."

  • Vancouver Sun education reporter Janet Steffenhagen continued the discussion about seismic upgrades for public schools on her blog. SFU earth scientist John Clague argues there is a significant and real risk to BC schools that justifies the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on seismic upgrades.

  • “Combining a nimble mind with a provocative persona, professor Krishna Pendakur has a flair for making his scholarship engaging,” wrote Douglas Todd in The Vancouver Sun. Pendakur discussed his “morally loaded” Evilometer, which measures the gaps in earnings between Canadians of different ethnicities.

  • SFU student Craig Vandermeer believes that everyone deserves an education and a safe building in which to learn. The Kemptville (ON) EMC reported how he has created his own charity, Schools Building Schools, which endeavours to provide funding for the construction of vocational schools in rural Uganda. “For the last couple of months things have really taken off. It's stressful but rewarding. The amount of work it takes to start an organization from the ground up is challenging."


  • CBC News quoted public policy prof Doug McArthur in a story on how an anti-HST canvasser in BC resigned after making comments defending Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel of Toronto. said this type of controversy is a risk for any grassroots movement that casts such a wide net for local supporters. "Basically, what they've got to do is, as soon as somebody crosses the line, you've got to cut them loose."
    Meanwhile, GlobalTV interviewed public policy prof Kennedy Stewart about the anti-HST campaign and BC’s MLA-recall legislation. He said BC could be the first province to have a sitting MLA recalled, which would force a byelection.


  • The Montreal Gazette ran a Postmedia News feature on genetic engineering of foods.  It quoted Pat Howard, retired SFU specialist in biotechnologies and public policy: “We've got in place a regulatory system that never accepted the idea that we needed a special system to deal with the special effects of the process. They only want to look at the product—are the products substantially equivalent—not the process." Full story:

  • The Vancouver Sun and The Province reported on a new legal duty, is emerging across the country, that places pressure on employers to provide a psychologically safe workplace. "This duty, simply put, requires employers to make a reasonable effort to protect the mental health of employees," adjunct prof Martin Shain told business leaders and lawyers in Vancouver. Shain is with SFU Health Sciences. A story also ran in the Victoria Times Colonist and Kamloops Daily News.

  • The Nanaimo Bulletin began a story this way: “Just as the Vancouver Island Health Authority prepared to roll out its harm reduction strategy in Nanaimo, a new study by a health sciences researcher finds that prevention, treatment and harm reduction programs are lacking in the city.” The researcher: Benedikt Fischer of SFU Health Sciences. Full story:

  • Boomers developed their “forever young” mentality partly as an aversion to how their parents aged, reported Maclean’s magazine. “They saw the grey hair, the wrinkles. They got slower and chubbier. Boomers are very cognizant that they don’t want to age the way their parents did,” said SFU  gerontologist Andrew Wister


  • Cities alarmed about rising RCMP costs are pressing Ottawa to take on more of the burden and rein in spending by the Mounties, reported BCLocalNews.comRob Gordon, director of SFU Criminology, predicted policing costs would decrease if BC created its own regional police force. If the province renews its RCMP contract, Gordon suggested including an escape clause. "It would be grossly irresponsible at this point to go ahead and sign without some sort of opt out,” said Gordon.

  • Gordon was also in a Victoria Times Colonist story that said reforms to BC’s fragmented policing system are being blocked by "raw, blind politics". Said Gordon: “It will take political courage on the part of the provincial government, which has the responsibility for providing the people of this province with a more effective and accountable police service. The government seems to not want to deal with it and they push it back down to the municipalities.”

  • The Montreal Gazette ran an editorial-page column opposing Ottawa’s decision to appeal an Ontario court ruling that decriminalized prostitution laws. The Gazette quoted testimony from SFU criminologist John Lowman: “John Lowman, professor at Simon Fraser University's school of criminology, told the court that police enforcement of the communicating provision in Vancouver pushed street prostitutes from populated areas into isolated commercial and industrial districts—from which about 50 women disappeared in the years 1995 to 2001. This area was Robert Pickton's hunting grounds.”

  • Earlier, Lowman was in the Globe and Mail saying the Ontario ruling would affect communities all across Canada. “We could end up with a bizarre patchwork of regulation across the country. Nor is there any guarantee that municipalities are going to do any better at this than the feds. It depends upon the attitude they take to a highly divisive issue in Canadian society.”

  • In The Province, criminologist Neil Boyd supported the appointment of Wally Oppal, former judge and former BC attorney-general, as head of BC’s Missing Women Commission of Inquiry. Boyd called Oppal "an independent thinker. He was a well-respected jurist and attorney general.”

  • The Province told readers how SFU Criminology student Kouri Keenan and criminology prof Joan Brockman have written a book detailing what’s wrong with “Mr. Big” undercover sting operations used by police.


  • Are we using technology to benefit society, or have we become slaves to it — and to those who would exploit it for evil, anti-social purposes? The question was from Province columnist Jon Ferry. Peter Chow-White of SFU Communication said we should think before we condemn technology. "It's not good or bad, but it's not neutral either. Full story:
    Fairchild Radio and CKNW also interviewed Chow-WhiteAnd the Calgary Herald picked up the Province column.
    CKNW’s Bill Good Show also interviewed Chow-White about individuals—known on the Internet as “trolls”— who post inappropriate messages on Facebook pages belonging to people they don’t know. For example, hateful messages posted on a memorial Facebook page for 15-year-old murder victim Laura Szendrei. Chow-White was also interviewed by Global TV and CityTV’s Breakfast Television.


  • The Province featured running back Gabe Ephard of the Clan football team. He’s leading the NCAA’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference in yards per carry at 9.3, is second in rushing with 463 yards through four games, and third in all-purpose yardage at 141.2 per game. Said Clan head coach Dave Johnson: “He is playing like a man possessed. He is a leader. His attitude is spectacular. He is saying and doing the right things. Gabe's character in three years has come a long way." Full story:

  • TV Week’s Joe Leary profiled SFU quarterback Quinton Agosta and provided some insight into the Washington state resident’s decision to play football north of the border.

  • SFU sophomore defender Helge Neumann was named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) Men’s Soccer Player of the Week. Neumann assisted on two game-winning goals as the Clan won their first two GNAC conference games.


  • The Georgia Straight carried a couple of stories on SFU’s new Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, the home of SFU Contemporary Arts in the Woodward’s redevelopment in Vancouver. In the first story, a Vancouver community worker and artist said she wants SFU to return a $10-million donation from Vancouver-based mining company Goldcorp Inc. (
    In a second story, Straight reporter Jessica Werb wrote: “it’s worth noting that the company's sponsorship of both academia and the arts is nothing new.”

  • Maclean’s named rocker K’naan as a newsmaker of the week. “What does K’naan have to do to be criticized? After organizers of a Vancouver-area charity concert fell short of his $40,000 fee, the Somali-Canadian musician refused to take the stage, leaving fans and the charity in the lurch; Simon Fraser University, where the benefit was being held, reportedly offered to pay the difference, to no avail. Yet event organizers . . . fell on their swords, accepting full blame, and offering refunds.” Full story:

ALSO in the NEWS

  • The Washington Post wrote a profile about Vancouver architect Bing Thom, who designed the new Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Referencing Thom’s work with Surrey Central City and the SFU Surrey campus, SFU president Andrew Petter said: "Most developers, and architects, would have looked at that shopping mall and said, 'Let's get rid of it'. To see a university at the heart of that city was really exciting."

  • Gerontologist Gloria Gutman, SFU prof emerita, was honoured by Zoomer magazine in its latest issue. In the publication’s Top 45 Over 45 list. Gutman is ranked #12. Topping the list is environmentalist David Suzuki.

  • SFU mathematician Germain Tanoh was a guest speaker at the Africa-Caribbean Leadership Conference in Surrey that focused on black unity. He said there are many talented people in the black community that can contribute to the advancement of black people in B.C. and Canada.

  • Burnaby Now reported that SFU student Dustin Paul had won the SFU Terry Fox Gold Medal for demonstrating courage and dedication in the face of adversity.

  • The Globe and Mail looks into the successes and failures by those who use Craigslist to find activity partners. SFU student Cameron Cheung found a goalie for his hockey team through the online ad website but he wasn’t exactly Roberto Luongo.


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