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SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - January 29, 2010

January 29, 2010

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A 1910 poem about the Chicago Cubs immortalized the classic double play: Tinker to Evers to Chance.
SFU profs had a triple play in media this week, the 3-M combination of McArthur to Meredith to Mack. As in: public policy prof Doug McArthur, marketing prof Lindsay Meredith, and Andrew Mack, director of the Human Security Report Project at SFU.
Communication prof Richard Smith and Urban Studies prof Anthony Perl were right behind them. More on their media hits below.

PUBLIC POLICY

  • Public policy prof Doug McArthur was much seen and heard in the news media during the week:
    • He did a special Saturday appearance on GlobalTV, a live interview discussing protest rallies over the prorogation of Parliament by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
      McArthur said Harper was “playing a political tactic . . . trying to handle the Afghanistan hearings.” But, he continued, prorogation is “the prerogative of the prime minister”.
      As for the rallies: “The question really, if we can do a survey, is: Are there people coming out to these rallies  . . .  the undecided voter, angry and upset about this? If that's the case, that's a bad sign for the government.  (But) I think it's going to be a bit of a flash in the pan. It will go away as a real issue.”
    • McArthur, one of two winners of the 2009 SFU President’s Award for service to the university through public affairs and media relations, then moved on to do an interview with CTV News, and then taped an appearance on Vaughn Palmer's Voice of BC show on Shaw-TV.
    • Right after that, McArthur spent 20 minutes live on the BC Almanac show on CBC Radio, talking about restructuring in Haiti, and in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    • And then McArthur signed up for an appearance on the Voice of BC show on Shaw-TV on March 11. This to discuss the 2010-11 provincial budget and related issues.
  • Columnist Don Cayo, in The Vancouver Sun, looked at whether Haiti can recover from its devastating earthquake and, if so, how.  Among other things, Cayo looked at how Bangladesh recovered from a killer cyclone in 1970, thanks to a number of agencies. "’They are a combination of parallel government, NGOs, charities and entrepreneurial enterprises,’ said John Richards, a Simon Fraser University economics professor who travels annually to Bangladesh and is involved in extensive research there.”
  • A Mindelle Jacobs column for the Toronto Sun newspaper chain also quoted Richards. Jacobs said Canadians should be doing whatever is necessary to keep Aboriginals in school.  She continued: “Education is an ‘ideologically charged’ issue because of the brutal history of residential schools, notes John Richards, a public policy professor at Simon Fraser University. ‘Then there's an undercurrent that those who do get high school are more likely to leave (reserves and Aboriginal communities) and that's a delicate issue.’”
  • Another public policy prof, Kennedy Stewart, was quoted in a Globe and Mail feature on Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson. Said the story:
    “Critics are caustic about his pronouncements on what is possible in Vancouver. ‘It's all irritating greenwash,’ said Kennedy Stewart, a public policy professor at Simon Fraser University.
    “‘Vancouver doesn't even have a composting program or congestion charge. I understand about trying to set ambitious goals, but these types of ludicrous statements make Vancouver political leaders look like bumpkins rather than world leaders. It is superficial and insulting to voters. Don't get me started about his pledge to eliminate homelessness by 2015.’"

NATIONAL and WORLD NEWS

  • The federal government announced to media funding for three new regional research centres—one at SFU—that will study violence and ways to prevent it.
    Marina Morrow of SFU Health Sciences and SFU’s Centre for the Study of Gender, Social Inequities and Mental Health “will use innovative research, knowledge exchange, and training activities to improve our understanding of why social disparities exist, and how they contribute to problems such as violence and addiction.” This with $2 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
    SFU also sent out a news release, and named her research colleague: SFU Health Sciences prof Elliot Goldner. We saw a story in the Hamilton Spectator, and on MedicalNews.com.
  • CTV News did a story on SFU Health Sciences prof Benedikt Fischer and a new book that gives policy makers a guide on effective and public-health-oriented regulation of cannabis use. Fischer is one of five co-authors of Cannabis Policy: Moving beyond Stalemate.
    He told CTV: “We have to be very aware of the limitations of policy. . . . When people make the decision to smoke a joint they do not think about the current systems of control. They are driven more by dynamics of subculture and fashion than by policy."
  • Anthony Perl, director of SFU Urban Studies, was quoted in an Associated Press news agency story on President Barack Obama’s plan to invest $8 billion in stimulus funds to develop high-speed rail corridors. While Obama plans to sell the program as a job-creator, Perl, chair of the U.S. National Research Council's panel on intercity passenger rails, said much of the technology will have to be purchased abroad.
    An AP story that ran in the Los Angeles Times added:
    “For the U.S. to decide to build high-speed train systems using primarily U.S. companies, ‘would be like Bangladesh deciding they want to have a space program and only use technology they have developed and manufactured themselves,’ said Anthony Perl, chairman of the National Research Council's intercity rail panel.
    “The technology gap between true high-speed trains and the slower trains in use in the United States is equivalent to the gap between the planes flown by World War I flying aces and today's jets, said Perl, an American who teaches transportation policy at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.”
  • Perl was also featured in a couple of pre-Olympic stories in Montreal's La Presse newspaper, thanks to a reporter visiting Vancouver.
    La Presse said Vancouver got a grant of $9 million to convert five Ford Focus cars to run on hydrogen. "This amounts to an annual lease of $360,000 per car," said Perl. Then in 2007, BC got 20 buses that run on hydrogen. "The most expensive ever produced," says Perl. "I do not think the world will be particularly impressed, technologically speaking,"
  • Alexander Moens, SFU political scientist and a senior fellow with the Fraser Institute, wrote a guest column in the Calgary Herald:
    “The victory of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts for the U.S. Senate is a victory for Canada's national interest. . . . Brown's victory will force Obama to make cutting the U.S. national budget deficit his No. 1 priority.  . . . Canada needs strong American consumer demand and fiscal discipline in Washington. Long live the American system of checks and balances.”
    The column also appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press.
  • Canwest News Service did a national feature on statistics showing Canadians are fatter and less fit than they were 25 years ago. The story quoted Diane Finegood, prof in SFU Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology and former scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research: “All the people in the game of trying to keep us on track (physically) are unsure of their funding.”
    We saw the Canwest story as far afield as the Truro (NS) Daily News.
    Finegood was also in a CBC News story that said Canadians may need more exercise than thought to stay slim and fit: at least 60 to 90 minutes a day. “Diane Finegood, an obesity expert at Simon Fraser University in B.C., said she now wears a pedometer after losing about 80 pounds over many years. ‘My goal is to get 12,500 steps most days of the week,’ she said in an interview Wednesday.”

HUMAN SECURITY REPORT

  • The Christian Science Monitor carried story on an SFU report released last week that says the human cost of modern warfare has decreased significantly, and that challenges other studies.
    “For instance, the Human Security Report, produced at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, claims that the widely cited death toll of 5.4 million in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is double what it should be.”
    The Monitor story, however, canvassed some critics of the report and, on one point, quoted Andrew Mack of the SFU-based Human Security Report Project, as saying: “If we were to rewrite it  . . . we would language it differently.”
    In the UK, The Independent ran an Agence France Presse story from last week on the report. The Independent told readers: “The national mortality rate of people living in poor, war-torn countries has fallen since the end of the Cold War, researchers reported Wednesday.”
    We also saw a story in France’s Le Figaro newspaper (circulation 320,000). And a blog by Betwa Sharma, the UN correspondent for the Press Trust of India, ran on the HuffingtonPost.com news website. It, too, quoted Mack.
    Mack was also quoted on the OpEdNews.com website and in a Newsweek blog: “‘It's never any fun living in a refugee camp (in Congo),’ says Andrew Mack, a professor at Simon Fraser University and the study's lead author. ‘But the mortality rates are better in many of those camps than they were before the war.’ That's no reason to celebrate warfare. But it does suggest that its toll has become less costly.’”

BC NEWS

  • Communication prof Richard Smith (the other winner of the 2009 SFU President’s Award for service to the university through public affairs and media relations) talked with The Vancouver Sun and Canwest News Service about the new Apple iPad tablet.
    Above all, he said: “Apple is disrupting (the phone companies’) business model which is to lock people into three-year plans. There is no subsidy; Apple is just selling it as it is. It is very disruptive. It could be a year from now people will say, ‘So you have a contract with your phone, what’s that all about?’ People will wonder why did you ever bother doing that. It is very scary for phone companies.”
    The Canwest story quickly showed up in papers from here to Winnipeg.
  • The Georgia Straight noted the iPad has sparked speculation about the future of textbooks in technology. The Straight quoted SFU Bookstore manager Mikhail Dzuba: “There is no question that the emergences of certain digital technology, like e-book readers, are starting to really put some pressure on the industry.”
    (Also quoted was SFU ethics prof Mark Wexler on how students have found how numerous ways to go around the cost of textbook, and on how publishers often put pressure on professors not to use open, Internet-based systems because the companies have little to gain.)
  • George Nicholas, SFU Archaeology prof and director of an international research initiative on intellectual property issues in cultural heritage, was interviewed on the On the Coast show on CBC Radio. He discussed some 2010 Winter Olympics issues—using the inukshuk as a symbol, selling near-clones of Cowichan sweaters, and the use of so-called “Aboriginal” costumes and routine by a pair of Russian ice-dancers.
  • On the same show, marketing prof Lindsay Meredith talked with host Stephen Quinn about VANOC’s new ads and Olympic-related “ambush marketing” by non-sponsors such as Pepsi. Then we saw him on GlobalTV talking about the risks of buying from people who are already selling Olympic tickets and souvenirs. “The closer you get to the games, the bigger the risk you’ll get stuck.”
    Meredith thus brought his personal score card of media hits to a cumulative 1,485. In recent days, despite the fact he’s recovering from surgery, he also did interviews with CTV national, CTV local, CBC Radio, CBC Radio Quebec, the Financial Post section of National Post, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and CKNW.
    Then Meredith scored two more hits. One in a Globe and Mail story on the sale by troubled Intrawest and owner Fortress Investment Group of the Panorama Mountain Village ski resort in southeastern BC. "Fortress is cornered," said Meredith. "The banks have pretty much had it with Fortress."
    And another hit in the Toronto Sun news service, in a story about a T-shirt that features the 2010 Olympic inukshuk logo and Olympic rings—with the words "Nobody Cares 2010". “Meredith said the shirts are just another symptom of a mounting pushback against the all-things-Olympic. ‘The T-shirt is about making a public statement and, I think, it's a public statement generated by VANOC.’”
  • Business prof Ed Bukszar was on CBC Radio, talking about the business impact of Toyota’s recall of millions of vehicles and suspension of sales of key models. Bukszar is familiar with Toyota and has visited its operations in Japan.

  • Burnaby Now interviewed Andrew Petter, SFU’s next president. Among the questions: “Is there anything you want our readers in Burnaby to know about you in particular?”
    Petter: “I don't come to Simon Fraser, or to Burnaby for that matter, with a preconceived notion. My goal is—and my experience is—that leadership works best with universities when you're trying to draw out of the university—and the communities that depend on those universities—the best ideas; and you're trying to work with different groups to gain their vision for what a university can and should be.”
    The Georgia Straight also carried an article on Petter. So did The Peak, the student newspaper at SFU. And so did the Globe and Mail’s education website, GlobeCampus.ca.
    The Globe and Mail newspaper carried a feature that focused on Petter’s political career and his family background—including a great-grandfather who “won a design prize for developing a fireplace grate that Queen Victoria later selected for her summer residence, Balmoral Castle in Scotland.”
  • The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times used SFU news releases as the foundation for a story on how SFU physicists—“which include one from Maple Ridge”—played roles as subatomic particles collided at the highest energies ever reached in a laboratory. This in the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator in Switzerland.  Named were Bernd Stelzer, Mike Vetterli, Maple Ridge resident Dugan O'Neil, and Jennifer Godfrey, one of O'Neil's PhD students.

EDUCATION

  • National Post looked at the number of Canadian universities that have renamed their “Women’s Studies” programs with titles such as “Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies.”
    “‘We're not abandoning women's studies, or saying the women's movement is dead. We're saying things are changing,’ said Catherine Murray, chairwoman of the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at Simon Fraser University. ‘It's about moving forward, staying ahead of the game and recognizing the need to include broader discussions surrounding gender.’"
  • The Epoch Times carried a story from SFU Education on a study by Jane Friesen, director of the SFU Centre for Education Research and Policy, saying Foundation Skills Assessment tests in BC schools results are a valuable resource.
    Earlier, Friesen appeared on the BC Almanac show on CBC Radio, discussing the pros and cons of FSAs with Irene Lanzinger, president of the BC Teachers Federation, and with phone-in callers.
    Meanwhile, the Nelson Daily News picked up a syndicated column that defended the FSA.  “A 2008 study by a Simon Fraser University professor used the FSA scores to identify districts where much greater progress had been made in closing the achievement gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. The study then looked at what strategies were working.” (The unnamed prof was John Richards.)
  • On the same subject, Gary Mauser, prof emeritus (SFU Business) had a letter to the editor in Coquitlam Now and the Tri-City News: “The Coquitlam Teachers' Association should be ashamed of themselves for attempting to frighten and manipulate parents about the Foundation Skills Assessment. . . .
    “Two independent SFU professors have provided examples of how the FSA has helped them evaluate B.C. school programs. It is important to know which programs work and which do not. The FSA is useful to everyone except for the teachers union, apparently.”
  • The Prince George Citizen named winners of the Health Council of Canada’s inaugural Health Innovation Awards. Students were asked: "What do you propose to help renew and sustain Canadian health care, and why?" In the Technologies category, SFU Health Sciences student John Hu won second place for  “Re-orienting the Built Environment: Contributions of ‘Mixed-Use Skyscraper Systems' to Sustainable Healthcare.”

CRIME and COURTS

  • Richard Smith, the SFU Communications prof, was also in a story in the Winnipeg Free Press on surveillance cameras. “Simon Fraser University Prof. Richard Smith said surveillance cameras simply don't work as a crime-fighting tool.  . . .  Smith, the director of the Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology, said it would be smarter to hire more police officers who can walk the beat. ‘An officer can respond, can help people with directions, can give advice, can maintain a presence in a way that a camera cannot.’"
  • Rob Gordon, director of SFU Criminology, was in several stories that explored whether an alleged affair between a key investigator in the Surrey Six slayings and a potential female witness would damage the Crown’s case.
    The Province:  “ . . . Gordon said the alleged dalliance will most likely not damage the prosecution's case, but may provide fodder for defence lawyers questioning other witnesses. The allegation will also have a definitive impact on the morale of police officers, particularly those with the RCMP, he added. ‘You begin to wonder how many more blows this organization is going to be able to take.’”
    On GlobalTV Gordon (a former police officer himself) wondered aloud what had happened to the officer’s professional smarts. “What happened to his street sense: ‘If I go down this path I’ll be in trouble’?”
    Later on GlobalTV, Gordon was asked about this case and the news that another Mountie has been charged with fraudulent claims for overtime pay. Gordon dismissed a defence based on stress the Mounties supposedly suffered after years in the force and on the gang-murder squad. “That doesn’t mean they are in an uncontrollable state.”
  • The Province told readers that British Columbians have the lowest public confidence in the court system in the country because they don't know how it works, according to a new report by the Canadian Bar Association.
    “‘Only half of the province is confident in the justice system, compared to 57 per cent nationally, said the report written by Simon Fraser University criminologist Neil Boyd.  ‘Confidence in the justice system is a really important part of any democracy,’ Boyd said Tuesday. He noted that justice is adversarial, and the media often cover cases that are unusual, even horrific. ‘You are going to get a skew about crime, and what is really going on.’”
    In an advance story, columnist Ian Mulgrew made the same point in The Vancouver Sun. Canwest News Service moved both items to clients across Canada.
    Then Boyd did a long stint on the Christy Clark show on CKNW. Among other things, he said an education program for the public in the UK resulted in an increase in public confidence in the justice system—“a 10% increase if it’s well thought out and well marketed.”
  • The Vancouver Courier and the commentary website of Rabble.ca covered a panel discussion organized by the BC Civil Liberties Association that called for investigation by civilians of complaints against police. “According to David MacAlister, a professor of Criminology at Simon Fraser University who is working with the BCCLA to research the extent of deaths in police custody and oversight and accountability in police-led investigations, "there's a very powerful police lobby in [B.C.] and they . . . exert serious pressure. The police like the way things are, they're going to oppose any significant change."

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

  • The Georgia Straight carried a half-page story on the coming of Robert Lepage’s multimedia show The Blue Dragon, “which SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts presents at the new Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre from February 2 to 27”. The Vancouver Sun also did a two-page spread story on Lepage and The Blue Dragon in the newspaper’s Westcoast Life section.
  • Burnaby Now ran four photos from the Gung Haggis Fat Choy celebrations at the Burnaby campus on Robbie Burns Day (Monday Jan. 25). The Epoch Times covered the event, and quoted SFU grad Todd Wong (aka Toddish McWong), founder of Gung Haggis Fat Choy: “I think every good Canadian should learn about Canada’s Chinese and Scottish heritage.”

ATHLETICS

  • “Shocker on the hill” was The Province’s headline as the No. 7-ranked Clan men’s basketball team handed the first loss of the season to the No. 1-ranked UBC Thunderbirds at SFU Burnaby Jan. 28—the first time SFU had beaten UBC since January 2008.
    The Clan built up a 16-point lead, only to need fourth quarter heroics by Kevin Shaw and Chas Kok to pull out an 82-79 win. Kok finished with 21 points. The teams meet again in the West Gym on the Burnaby campus at 3pm Saturday Jan. 30.
    The Clan women’s team then plays the UBC women at 5pm Saturday Jan. 30 in the West Gym.
  • Sports media all over North America carried stories as the Clan women’s basketball team racked up its 50th straight victory—thumping the University of Winnipeg 85-50. Robyn Buna led the Clan with 23 points, including seven of 10 three-pointers.
    Before the game, GlobalTV carried a special feature on the team and interviewed, among others, Buna, Kelsey Horsting and head coach Bruce Langford.
  • The No. 1 ranked women then went on to victory #51, clobbering the University of Manitoba Bisons 89-48 to improve to 13-0 on the year. As The Vancouver Sun noted: “Laurelle Weigl and (Carly) Graham led the way for SFU, each scoring 14 points in the victory, while Katie Miyazaki added 11 points.  . . . (Nayo) Raincock-Ekunwe and Kate Hole also finished in double figures, each scoring 10 points.”
  • Earlier, after win #49 (80-45 over the Trinity Western University Spartans) The Vancouver Sun named Buna its female athlete of the week: “Buna shot the lights out in the opening half, scoring 15 points over the first 20 minutes, including hitting four-of-five first-half three-pointers. She finished the contest with a game-high 24 points.”
    The Sun selected Matt Kuzminski of the Clan men’s basketball team as its male athlete of the week. “(He) scored 20 points in the Clan's 80-69 win over the Trinity Western University Spartans on Friday and then netted 21 points on Saturday as SFU completed the two-game sweep of TWU with a 68-64 overtime victory.”
  • Globe and Mail Sports named 50 people who “by their actions in 2009, are generally poised to make an impact on the country's sporting scene in 2010.” No. 49 on the list: “David Murphy. By taking Simon Fraser University into the NCAA, the senior athletic director is challenging Marg McGregor and the CIS to respond with a strategy—beyond status quo—to stop further defections.”  (McGregor is CEO of Canadian Interuniversity Sport.)
  • Burnaby Now carried a story after news releases from SFU “Simon Fraser University's No. 1 ranked women's basketball team will be hosting its 'Breast Game Ever' against rival University of B.C. on Jan. 30. The women's basketball tilt for the annual Barbara Rae Cup will also serve as the Clan's annual fundraiser for breast cancer research.
    “Last season, SFU forward Anna Carolsfeld and three Clan teammates had their heads shaved that raised nearly $20,000 for the B.C. Cancer Agency. The Saturday game, which is also Seniors Night for eight graduating players, will be full of entertainment, including T-shirts, calendars and a 50/50 draw.” (You can donate here.)
    CTV News and The Province also promoted the game.
  • Speaking of basketball, the North Shore News told readers that two North Vancouver teammates will celebrate seniors night together as they near the end of their university careers with the Clan men's basketball team.
    “Fifth-year guards Sean Burke and Kevin Shaw joined the Clan together in 2005 after strong careers with the Argyle Pipers and both have been integral parts of the SFU program ever since. Burke, a point guard, will end his career as the school's all-time leader in assists while shooting guard Shaw is currently tied for the team lead in scoring this season.”
  • The Province carried a feature on Chelsea Reist of Mission BC, who moved from competitive dance to the high-school basketball court. “And beginning next season, Reist will get the chance to perform on Canada's biggest basketball stage when she joins the No. 1-ranked, defending CIS champion Simon Fraser Clan for its first season in the U.S.-based NCAA Div. 2 ranks.”
  • Burnaby Now and the New Westminster Record reported that candidates for Athlete of the Year honours from SportBC include Justin Abdou, SFU and Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club coach, one of three shortlisted candidates for coach of the year; and Clan wrestler Arjan Bhuller, nominated in the university athlete of the year category.
  • The Early Edition show on CBC Radio interviewed Carol Huynh, SFU grad and Olympic gold-medal wrestler (Beijing Olympics, 2008). This stemmed from a reminder to media from PAMR about Wednesday’s awards dinner for recipients of 2009 Outstanding Alumni Awards from the SFU Alumni Association. Huynh was one of four winners.

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