SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - February 26, 2009

February 26, 2009

A look at how SFU and its people made news: Feb. 20-26, 2009

Big in sports news: One of their best offensive performances of the season enabled the Clan women’s basketball team to claim the 2009 Pacific Division Championship.

SFU now takes on Alberta in the first game of the Final Four series at SFU Burnaby Friday Feb. 27. The Clan are also assured a spot at the CIS national championships.

Meanwhile, players Courtney Gerwing, Robyn Buna and Laurelle Weigl were singled out for special Canada West honours. So were two members of the Clan men’s team, Frank Bradley and Greg Wallis. More on all this below.


  • On radio CHMB AM1320, which serves the Chinese-Canadian market, SFU is front and centre this week and next in a series of features about the Canadian education system.

    On Feb. 26, a segment that ran three times included commentary from Jon Driver, vice-president academic, on how SFU continues to meet enrolment targets and cope with demand. And talk-show host Tony Liaw interviewed Eugenie Ko, acting director, administration, Student Services, and Vivian Chu, SFU-ZU dual-degree program coordinator, School of Computing Science. They talked about all that SFU has to offer Chinese-Canadian and Chinese International students.

    Next week (March 2-6), two 30-second advertising spots profiling SFU's academic offerings and successes will run several times a day.
  • SFU’s Surrey campus ran an eight-page advertising insert in Metro’s Lower Mainland edition. It promoted all three campuses—and in particular SFU Surrey’s open house Feb. 26. And CTV News went to the campus to film stories including student-invented Facebook hoodies—real hoodies that light up when a friend “pokes” you on Facebook.

    Ads also ran on TheBeat, the most-listened-to radio station in the Lower Mainland, and in the Asian Star.  The Epoch Times also gave an advance mention to the open house.
  • Burnaby Now reported that a group of SFU students will live on the streets this weekend (Feb. 28-March 1) aiming to raise money and awareness of how prevalent youth homelessness is.

    "From 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday, participants will get an idea of how hard it is on the streets," said co-organizer Garett Senez, a fourth-year marketing student. "People will only be able to eat what people give them and they won't have their phones and electronic items with them."
    Senez and fellow organizer Julian Legazpi expect there will be 50 students sleeping on the streets and hope to raise more than $5,000 for Covenant House. They came up with the idea after the success of a mock homeless camp they set up at the Burnaby campus. (See
  • Joanna Ashworth, director of dialogue programs at SFU and director of Imagine BC, wrote in The Vancouver Sun about the “Big Ideas” series that ran in the Sun, linked to an Imagine BC project seeking big ideas for B.C.'s future.

    “Reviewing these and the other innovative ideas is inspiring. You can read the collection of entries at If you're still interested in participating in shaping B.C.'s resilient future, join us for a public dialogue at SFU's Wosk Centre for Dialogue on Mar. 27. Check our website for details.”
  • Criminologist Brenda Morrison was on the BC Almanac show on CBC Radio, talking about bullying. This to mark Pink Shirt Day, a growing campaign to combat bullying in all forms.
  • Vancouver Sun writer Doug Todd (a former Shadbolt fellow at SFU) covered in his Sun blog the visit to SFU of Tariq Ramadan, “arguably the most famous Muslim thinker in Europe.” Ramadan called on Muslims to take back their religion from headline-grabbing “dogmatic” Muslims. “The voices of moderation should be radically more vocal.”
  • Also in The Vancouver Sun, SFU grad student Ian Fyffe promoted “volunteering in a capacity that fits with a person's strengths, interests and identity.” He’s a community counsellor at Options: Hyland House shelter in Surrey, as well as being a graduate student in SFU Gerontology.
  • Speaking of volunteers:  The New Westminster NewsLeader reported that 15 volunteers from the group Canadians for Obama painted the New Westminster-based Centre of Integration for African Immigrants. Organizer Benjamin Lee, an SFU Health Sciences student, said the group will take on similar community service on the 19th of each month.
  • The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times ran a news release from SFU and Fraser Health Authority that announced a memorandum of understanding for a strategic alliance on teaching, training and research. Under it, SFU and FH will identify and develop areas of co-operation that benefit both organizations.


  • The Globe and Mail ran a two-part series on the work and plans of Arvind Gupta, scientific director of the SFU-based research network called MITACS (Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems).

    “While Canada ranked in the top five countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development for research and development at universities, it ranked near the bottom of 22 countries surveyed for R&D among industry and business,” the Globe wrote.

    Enter MITACS and a new plan from Gupta. “. . .  his new program is one of the most important to come along in decades.”

    Part. 2 of the series looked at the MITACS internship program. “Last year, 235 students across the country took part in the program. This year, more than 500 students will work with 250 companies.” And Gupta will press MITACS’ efforts to keep them in Canada.

    The series is at:
  • The Financial Post section of National Post featured the Executive MBA, “a program first offered in Canada by Simon Fraser University—as Sue Anne Linde explains on this page.”

    The page (the front page of FP Executive)carried a story by Linde, a graduate of the EMBA program and director of marketing and communications in SFU Business. “These days, the EMBA is an opportunity for upwardly mobile employees to signal their interest in assuming greater responsibilities, and to distinguish themselves by earning a respected credential that delivers an immediate return on investment to their organizations.”

    Financial Post also announced that its MBA Annual (which will be in most editions of National Post on March 3 and also at will profile “a trio from Simon Fraser University who launched their own wealth-management firm.”
  • CTV reported on its nationalinvestigation of the accuracy of weight scales in stores. CTV found that in Nova Scotia, government inspection records show inaccurate scales benefit the retailer more than nine out of 10 times, SFU marketing prof Lindsay Meredith told CTV: “Look, the law of probability says it should be half the time for you, half the time for me. If you get a 90-per-cent error in your favour, that's not probability any more. I think somebody's up to something."

    CTV not only featured Meredith in the stories; it also used his on-air quote in a series of “teaser” ads promoting the news program.
  • Meredithwas also in a Canwest News Service story about efforts by Wal-Mart Canada and Kraft Foodsto come up with new “friendlier” logos and branding (e.g. ‘Walmart’ rather than ‘Wal-Mart’, with a shining-sun graphic) in hopes of attracting recession-depressed customers. Said Meredith:

    “Consumers have their hands stuffed in their pockets and they aren't going to spend. If you can make them feel better by providing an aura to your logo that's more uplifting, it could work to your advantage." We saw the story in eight papers from Port Alberni to Montreal.
  • Maclean’s magazine carried a feature on Surrey, and how mayor Diane Watts is trying to tackle crime, homelessness, haphazard development and an exploding population. “Watts is starting with a massive revitalization of the downtown core connected to Surrey Central (warts and all). She is encouraging developers to throw up four million square feet of office space in high-rise towers. The anchor is a new SFU satellite campus.”

    Among those quoted in the story was Gordon Price, director of the City Program at SFU.
  • The Globe and Mail promoted a fundraiser for the solar-powered home called North House, being developed by students and faculty at SFU, Waterloo and Ryerson. It will be assembled on the National Mall in Washington BC, to compete this October in the 2009 Solar Decathlon contest.


  • Prospect magazine in England featured Canadian Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. Among those quoted was SFU public policy prof John Richards. He said of Ignatieff: “He has a strong sense of his own ego and his own place in the world.” And Richards added: “He has learned the skills to move from the intellectual life to small-town Canada. He is more sensitive to the western regions than most in his party.”
  • is a U.S.-base website that covers U.S. politics. In an article of U.S.-Latin America relations, Scoop44 quoted SFU political scientist Eric Hershberg, president of the Latin American Studies Association: “The tensions, and there certainly are tensions, are primarily with governments in the Andes—Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador.”

    As well, he said, “The (Obama) administration should draw on the good will and diplomatic capabilities of such countries as Brazil, Mexico and Chile, to seek their assistance in bringing about a thaw in relations with Havana.”

    The website of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs ( also ran the story.
  • The videogame site carried a story on the “Global Game Jam” in which 1650 people put online 370 games churned out by teams at 53 locations around the world. Among the “jammers” was Magy Seif El-Nasr, assistant prof in SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology.
  • cited the Human Security Report Project (HSRP) and its finding that the overall level of global violence is significantly lower today than it has been for most of the past century. The article did not, however, note the HSRP is an SFU program.


  • The Toronto Star looked at MBA offerings in Canada, and noted. “The MBA in management of technology/biotechnology at Simon Fraser University has seen a 100-per-cent increase in applications, says associate dean Ed Bukszar, explaining the program is designed for professionals currently in technical or scientific roles who want to enter managerial positions. The Vancouver-based school is also seeing an increase in applications for the financial risk-management specialization.”
  • The Vancouver Sun examined career prospects for digital-media students. It quoted Mike Torillo, one of 21 students in the first graduating class of the new Masters of Digital Media program in Vancouver, and Gerri Sinclair, president and executive director of the Masters of Digital Media program. But it didn’t mention that SFU is a partner in the program, at the Great Northern Way campus.
  • The Georgia Straight carried a story on the continuing controversy over Foundation Skills Assessment tests in BC schools. Among those quoted was Dan Laitsch, assistant education prof: “The conversation around school testing tends to be very superficial. It’s like everyone is speaking from a press release. We have a lot of complexity in what we see in the results, and we have the power to react in a fuller and richer way.”


More media coverage for SFU criminologists—and for an SFU student—on the recent outbreak of gang shootings in the Lower Mainland:

  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader quoted Rob Gordon, director of SFU Criminology, as calling the BC government's promise of 168 new police officers "policy on the fly" that is more aimed at giving the impression of action than likely making real gains.

    “If a short-term policing blitz has any impact, he said, it may succeed in again quieting the conflict for a few months—perhaps through the provincial election—before the violence returns. ‘It will go on and on,’ Gordon said. ‘It will go on for as long as there is an illegal drug industry being run by organized crime groups.’"

    The story also ran in the Richmond Review, Aldergrove Star and Chilliwack Progress.
  • Gordon was also on CTV, in a story saying CTV News has learned that police suspect a Canada Revenue Agency employee leaked police information to a BC-based gang in 2007. Gordon said tax information gang members might be interested in could include home or work addresses. "So that could well be used to target individuals into organized hits.”
  • Gordon was also in an Agence France Presse story, saying that if authorities "don't do something we could see more and more bodies piling up on the streets." He said governments have three possible responses: to mount a "war on organized crime," to treat drug prevention and abuse more aggressively as a health issue, including legalizing marijuana; or to combine the two approaches.
  • And Gordon was on CTV as Prime Minister Stephen Harper headed to Vancouver to talk about gangs, and BC attorney-general Wally Oppal arranged a trip to Ottawa looking for changes in sentencing.
  • Criminologist Neil Boyd was in a Canadian Press story, saying the federal Conservative focus on adding yet more legal punishments is a "bizarre" bit of political window-dressing.

    “It's far too late in the game. And it's a pretence for the prime minister to say they're going to have any impact. . . . It's got nothing to do with protecting the public. But unfortunately politicians survive on short-term three- to four-year time frames and it seems they're doing something. They're catering to public anger." We saw that story in and on 18 media outlets.
  • Meanwhile, Vancouver Sun columnist Douglas Todd wrote on the gangs-and-guns issue:

    “I also appreciated the piece by Simon Fraser University's veteran criminologist Neil Boyd, who wrote in The Sun that those blaming the police and courts for all the gang violence are missing a crucial point. . . .

    “Another SFU expert on aggressive behaviour, Ehor Boyanowsky, wrote that much of the recent drama—including submachineguns, armoured cars and killings on streets—can be attributed to what he considers Canada's ill-reasoned ‘war on drugs.’ Boyanowsky argued much of the violence would go away if society decriminalized street drugs.”
  • Boyanowsky was also quoted in a story in six Metro newspapers across Canada as saying the only way to truly take power away from gangs is to legalize and regulate drugs. “Nobody kills anybody over alcohol.”


All over sports pages and sports shows, with help from Scott McLean, the media, broadcast and sports information director in SFU Athletics, were these stories:

  • All five SFU starting players carded double figures as the Clan women’s basketball team hammered the UBC Thunderbirds 84-58 to claim the 2009 Pacific Division championship.

    Courtney Gerwing, Lisa Tindle and Laurelle Weigl each scored 14 points, Robyn Buna 13 and Matteke Hutzler 12. The convincing win made up for a ragged performance in Game 1 of the best-of-three series. The Clan won that one 62-58, but needed a second-half push to do it.

    SFU now hosts the Final Four tournament in the West Gym at SFU Burnaby. The Clan take on the University of Alberta Pandas in their opening-round game on Friday (6:15 pm). The other semifinal features the University of Regina Cougars and University of Saskatchewan Huskies (8:15 pm). The gold medal game is scheduled for Saturday, February 28, at 7 pm, while the bronze medal game will be played at 5 pm.

    All SFU games will be available on Clan Radio and, while live statistics for all tournament games will be provided at:
  • Meanwhile, Buna and Weigl were named to the Canada West first all-star team.
  • And guard Gerwing was named Canada West nominee for the Sylvia Sweeney award. That’s a national award to the player who best exemplifies excellence in basketball, academics and community involvement. The fifth-year senior led the Canada West conference in assists and averaged over 11 points per game.

    And more:  An Academic All-Canadian with a GPA of over 3.8, Gerwing has acted as a research assistant for SFU’s Close Relationships Lab, has volunteered with Hoops for Hope, helped run a joint SFU-Special Olympics clinic for Special Olympics athletes, volunteered in many community programs, and took part in and helped organize “Balding for Dollars", where she and three teammates shaved their heads to raise money for Cancer Research. That helped to raise more than $18,000 for the B.C. Cancer Foundation.

    “Courtney is a great athlete and a great student, but really has been a fantastic citizen over her five-year career,” said SFU head coach Bruce Langford.
  • From the Clan men’s basketball team, guard Frank Bradley was named Canada West defensive player of the year, and forward Greg Wallis was named a first-team all-star.
  • One week after claiming wrestling gold at the Canada West championships at 130kg, Arjan Bhullar won three straight matches en route to the 285-lb championship at the NAIA West national qualifier in Atherton CA. The Clan men’s and women’s wrestling teams will be in action this weekend at the CIS national championships, hosted by the University of Calgary.
  • The Clan softball team moved to 7-4 for the year with a 7-3 win over Eastern Oregon in the Northwest Cup tournament in Portland OR. Earlier, the Clan fell 14-11 to Pacific University. SFU’s first home game is March 15 against Concordia.


  • Burnaby Now picked up a news release from SFU Contemporary Arts on Harmonia, which plays at the SFU Theatre on the Burnaby campus through March 7.  It’s part of a seven-play cycle (City of Wine) covering the Oedipus story. The SFU production is directed by DD Kugler, associate prof, theatre. (Info: or 778-782-3514.) The Province listed Harmonia as a top-pick event.
  • National Post carried a photo of former SFU chancellor Milton Wong and wife Fei, who donated $3 million to fund a 450-seat theatre for the School for the Contemporary Arts in the Woodward's store complex. The new theatre will be named the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre. It is to open in early 2010.
  • Vancouver-based South Asian Post quoted SFU President Michael Stevenson in a story on the Oscar wins of Slumdog Millionaire. “Stevenson, who presciently launched the Burnaby-based university’s India Initiative in 2006, a program forging strategic ties between SFU and the large, dynamic Indian diaspora in B.C., gushed of the Slumdog win: ‘This victory reflects the growing importance of India in the world, both culturally and economically.’"
  • The Ottawa Citizen picked up a Canwest News Service feature on rap-hip-hop artist Shad (a.k.a. SFU student Shadrach Kabango). “Shad will test the waters this summer on the Vans Warped Tour, the annual punk rock festival. . . . He is scheduled to appear on 45 dates.”

    And the Stockton (CA) Record featured Dirk (Baba) Brinkman who is presenting there a rap version of the Canterbury Tales. The Record noted he studied Chaucer at SFU.
  • Canwest News Service looked atthe beginning of the new season for the TV drama 24. And it noted: “Naive-girlfriend-turned-double-agent Marika is played by Enuka Okuma, a Vancouver actress and Simon Fraser University grad who first came to attention in the Gemini Award-winning series Madison. The item ran in The Vancouver Sun, The Province, the Victoria Times Colonist, Regina Leader-Post and Windsor Star.
  • The University of Texas at Dallas Mercury featured UTD alum Sanjay Madhav, an actor who has appeared in a string of TV shows and movies. The story noted: “He wanted to do something practical with his life and after graduating from Simon Fraser University with a bachelor's in theater, he decided to move to Texas for graduate school.” (Where he got a graduate business degree.)


  • SFU told media how Coast Capital Savings is the first corporate sponsor of Venture Connection, SFU’s new interdisciplinary hub for entrepreneurial activity, located at the Surrey campus. The company’s $125,000 will support programs that include the Venture Labs Student Incubator, which gives students the opportunity to develop companies with the assistance of hand-picked experts and mentors.
  • SFU also let media know that business prof Ian McCarthy has earned a Fulbright New Century Scholar (NCS) appointment. He holds a Canada Research Chair in management of technology and operations management at SFU and heads the university’s new Business Centre for Research in Biotechnology Management.


  • MIT topped the Cybermetrics Lab's biannual Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, which measures "the performance and impact of universities through their web presence." The SFU website ranked #62 out of 4,000 and was fourth among Canadian universities. (Toronto was #1, followed by UBC and Alberta. Montréal was #5. After that in the top 100 came Calgary, McGill, Waterloo, Laval, York and Québec.)


  • The Edmonton Journal ran a Canwest News Service feature from two weeks ago, on the iconic doll Barbie turning 50. It quoted Barbara Mitchell, sociologist-gerontologist, as saying Barbie's transition into the menopausal twilight years looks fairly bright—not least because of her back-saving breast reduction in 1997.

ALSO in the NEWS

  • The Vancouver Sun and other media reported the resignation of Kash Heed as West Vancouver’s police chief, and his possible entry into BC politics. The Sun noted: “Heed holds a master's degree in criminology and a bachelor's degree in general studies from Simon Fraser University.”



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