SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - March 27, 2009

March 27, 2009

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A look at how Simon Fraser University and its people made news: March 20-27, 2009              

The Sunday Edition program on CBC Radio taped its March 29 show at SFU’s Segal Graduate School of Business in Vancouver, with Michael Enright hosting a panel of speakers on the subject “Is capitalism, as we know it, dead?”
From Simon Fraser University, the panel included Ed Bukszar, associate dean of graduate studies at Segal; economist Stephen Easton; and Richard Lipsey, prof emeritus of economics.
The show will be on air right after the 9 am CBC news on Sunday March 29.
Also coming up, on March 31, a Shaw-TV show shot at the Burnaby campus. More on this one below.


  • The Canadian Press sent across the country a story on how BC conservation groups marked the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill by calling for safeguards to protect the BC coast from similar ecological disasters. SFU wildlife scientist Daniel Esler was quoted:
    “If you dig down, you can see (the oil), you can smell it. It's definitely there and in a state that's not much weathered beyond when it hit the beaches 20 years ago.''
    We spotted the story in a dozen media outlets across Canada.
    Esler also did interviews with the As it Happens show on national CBC Radio, and with CKNW, and CBC Radio regional and national programs in Vancouver and Victoria.
    Esler co-authored a paper on the oil spill’s legacy in the journal Science in 2004.
  • UK-based Achieving Business Excellence magazine carried a feature on the “green” building of the Arts and Social Sciences Complex and Blusson Hall on the Burnaby campus of SFU. “It’s a very green building and people like being in it,” said Phil McCloy, SFU development manager.
    The magazine said SFU has generally built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Standard, though without formally applying for certification. Now it will go for the Gold Standard, and certify it. “It’s just a little extra work for us,” said K.C. Jones, assistant director of major projects, “but we already have the expertise and the people in place to meet the requirements.”
  • To mark last weekend’s UN World Water Day, the Ottawa Citizen looked at the business of bottled water—and the number of municipalities that are moving to ban it. The Citizen wrote:
    Mark Jaccard, a professor with the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University, is all for any measures that in some way ‘reduce the throughput of energy and materials in our economy. It has to start somewhere. So bravo to those municipalities who are taking action.’"
  • The Washington Post, Pakistan Daily Times and the Cayman Islands-based Caribbean Net News were among media that picked up last week’s story from Agence France Presse on an international study, led by Michelle Paddack of SFU’s Tropical Marine Ecology Lab. It showed the number of fish living in Caribbean reefs has dropped significantly since 1995, after decades of stability.
  • Meanwhile, New York University's website picked up a report co-authored by SFU researcher Nick Dulvy, saying millions of struggling people in tropical fishery-dependent nations will be hard hit by global warming. The report was first published in February in the journal Fish and Fisheries.
  • The Abbotsford News wondered if the eruption of Mt. Redoubt in Alaska might heralderuptions at other supposedly sleepy giants such as Mount Baker. SFU volcanologist Glyn Williams-Jones explained that Baker has been in a cooling phase since it last erupted in 1870. We may see puffs of steam from melting snow falling into hot gas release vents, but “that's a common occurrence, and doesn't mean that it's more active."
  • The environment column in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix promoted an appearance there next week by Gordon Price, director of the SFU City Program.  It quoted Price on his theme: “By the 1950s, every city and town was built according to the standards of motordom. The standards were not imposed, but gratefully accepted by the public. . . . . Everything favoured the seamless use of automobiles."
    Columnist Paul Hanley added: “Price's solution is not to eliminate cars. It is to increase transportation choices. More on that in next week's column.”
  • The Sweden-based Globe Forum told media that on June 3, in Stockholm, Swedish Crown Princess Victoria will present the 2009 Globe Awards for sustainability. The news release noted the judges included Leyland Pitt, marketing prof in SFU’s Segal Graduate School of Business and senior research fellow of the Leeds University business school in the UK.


  • Communication prof Richard Smith was on CBC News, questioning a TransLink advertising campaign asking transit users to keep tabs on each other and report potential security threats.
    "You're asking people to make judgments about others' behaviour," said Smith. "What makes something suspicious? Is it the clothes I wear, the colour of my skin? How far do we go down that path?"
  • Canwest News Service carried a newsfeature on how “cases of girl-on-girl violence have created shocking headlines.” Among experts quoted was psychology prof Marlene Moretti, lead investigator of a gender and aggression project funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. We saw the story in the Victoria Times Colonist, The Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Ottawa Citizen and Montreal Gazette. The Nanaimo Daily News also picked it up.
  • Marketing prof Lindsay Meredith was in a Globe and Mail story about 2010 Winter Olympic finances. Organizers have collected $365 million from sponsors so far, but count on getting about $950 million. “I sure wouldn't count the chickens before they're hatched," said Meredith.
  • Meredith was also on CBC Radio’s national news in a story on consumer complaints about Direct Buy, a company that claims to give deep discounts on home furnishings and appliances. CBC said the company locks people into contracts, and there is little protection from this in Canada. Said Meredith: “It's not right. We need some protection for this kind of situation.”
    The seven papers in the Metro chain also did a story on Direct Buy and its forceful sales techniques. “This kinda pitch is a clear signal to hit that door running,” said Meredith.
  • Farther afield, the New York Times reported scientists in Texas have found a colony of billions of genetically identical amoebas, in a cow pasture outside Houston. Evolutionary biologist Bernard Crespi said the Rice University study is the first to clearly demonstrate "the extreme of relatedness" in so-called “social microbes”—a huge population of genetically identical individuals.


  • Vancouver Sun columnist Don Cayo questioned Canada’s latest list of priority targets for foreign aid. SFU economist John Richards was quoted as saying Ottawa seems to have totally forgotten the lofty promises of the G-8 summit four years ago and the agreement to focus on measures that would "make poverty history."
  • The North Shore News and The Vancouver Sun were among media outlets that carried a story on a terrorist video in which Khadija Abdul Qahaar, a West Vancouver journalist kidnapped in Pakistan, says her unidentified captors are planning to kill her by the end of the month.
    Public policy prof Doug McArthur, an expert on Canada's foreign policy in the region, said western governments work very hard to secure the release of such hostages. "Very often—sometimes we find out, other times we never know—there is actually ransom paid and other things done that are never announced."
  • The Vancouver Sun picked up a quote from an SFU prof in a story about weak and unenforced electoral rules in BC municipal elections.
    “Civic elections are ‘the Wild West,’ says Simon Fraser University political scientist Patrick Smith, who has concluded that more than four times as much money per voter is spent than in provincial or federal elections.”
  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader wrote an advance story on the third annual “Psych in the City” lecture series at the Surrey campus, starting on April 8. The headline: “Can you buy happiness? Ask a psychologist.” CKWX News1130 radio also pursued a story.
  • Speaking of psychology: Assistant prof Michael Schmitt of SFU Psychology was in a Vancouver Courier story about last weekend’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Schmitt said such events “are positive things and, yes, they do make a difference. The ones that have the greatest effect involve people in some way."
  • ran a story on Ottawa’s claim that red tape affecting small business in Canada has been reduced by 20 per cent over the last two years. Ed Bukszar, associate dean of graduate in SFU Business, said: “It can’t hurt but I don’t think it’s going make a big difference.”
  • Burnaby Now picked up an SFU news release about how geneticist Willie Davidson is one of two scientists receiving the 2009 Genome BC Award for Scientific Excellence. Davidson and Ben Koop of UVic are being recognized for leadership of an international consortium that is studying the genetics of salmon and related species. The group hopes to breed fish that tolerate climate change.
  • The Vancouver Westender ran a story on job stress in the recession. Among those quoted was SFU psychologist Joti Samra: “Not only is addressing mental-health issues of employees the right thing to do, it makes good business sense. Not addressing these issues impacts productivity in a negative way."
  • Surrey Now featuredSFU Business student Milun Tesovic and his web company Metrolyrics, which makes available the lyrics for more than 500,000 songs. Tesovic was named the 2009 BC Student Entrepreneur of the year by Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE) Canada. He is one of two students from Western Canada who will compete in the National Student Entrepreneur competition in Toronto May 4-6.
  • The Burnaby NewsLeader covered Wednesday’s “Balding for Dollars” fundraiser on the Burnaby campus—and posted a video of student Steve Lee getting shaved. ( Organizer Emily Ho was counting on $3000 in pledges, to go to the cancer ward at BC Children's Hospital.
    And Surrey Now carried a photo of mechatronics student Chris Stewart after taking a pie in the face as he and fellow students raised more than $300 at the Surrey campus. The money goes to the Surrey division of the Engineering Science Student Society and the Surrey sub-Chapter of Engineers Without Borders.


  • The Canadian Press quoted Rob Gordon, director of SFU Criminology, in a story on plans by BC to work with Mexican authorities to fight gangs.  Gordon generally approved, but questioned the idea of sending justice officials to Mexico.
    “I'm not sure that flooding northern Mexico with lawyers is going to solve the problem. Our concern is really how we stem the flow of cocaine into Canada.''
    We saw the story in the Globe and Mail and 16 other media outlets.
  • Criminology prof Neil Boyd was in a Nanaimo Bulletin story about a sex-offender against whom charges were shelved after his death was reported in a newspaper. He was eventually found alive, and several charges proceeded against him. Boyd said the phony-obituary trick was new to him: “There are many instances of people faking their death for financial reasons. It’s certainly something you see in fictional material.”


  • CBC News reported photographer-prof Jin-me Yoon of SFU Contemporary Arts is one of four international finalists selected by a professional panel for the Grange Prize for contemporary photography. Launched in 2007 by the Art Gallery of Ontario and Aeroplan, the competition awards $50,000 to the artist whose work receives the most online votes between through May 20, 2009. To vote online, visit: This year's winner will be announced on May 26.
  • The Burnaby NewsLeader used a PAMR release on how BC Lt.-Gov. Steven Point was to be at the Burnaby campus today for the unveiling by artists from the Squamish L'hen Awtxw Weaving House of traditional blankets they created for the university’s new Aboriginal Gathering Place. This in the atrium of the Arts and Social Sciences Complex.


  • The Province carried a story on how the SFU board of governors gave a green light this week for SFU Athletics to proceed with an application to join the NCAA Division II. David Murphy, senior director of athletics, said the idea is to move all Clan sports into the NCAA by 2012. NCAA officials will decide on the application in July. Canwest News Service sent the story to clients across the country.
  • The Clan women’s softball team defeated St. Martin’s University (Lacey WA) 10-4 and 8-7. An earlier doubleheader against Northwest Christian College was rained out. Then a doubleheader in Bellingham against Western Washington University was cancelled on Wednesday due to poor field conditions.
  • After a short break following their indoor season, the SFU men’s and women’s track and field teams kick off their outdoor season this weekend. They host the SFU Open on Burnaby Mountain, starting at noon Saturday March 28.
  • The South Asian Link newspaper carried a story about SFU wrestler Arjan Bhullar: “Arjan Bhullar, who comes from a family of wrestling greats who have entertained sports lovers at Sikh community tournaments for years, has finally got the recognition he deserves by winning two major wrestling championships in the same year.” He was the first SFU wrestler ever to win both an NAIA and CIS National Championship in the same season recently.
  • The Langley Times featured David Petroziello, new head coach and general manager of the International Basketball League's Vancouver Titans, a new professional team based at the Langley Events Centre. The paper noted Petroziello attended graduate school at SFU in 2006 and assisted in the Clan's men's basketball program. As head coach, he succeeds Richard Chambers, a former assistant coach with the SFU men’s team, who resigned from the Titans, citing health reasons. (The Titans’ home debut is Friday, April 24 against the Snohomish Explosion.)



  • The Vancouver Sun’s education blog reported SFU will soon offer a new master’s program “for teachers who want to become union leaders.” The Sun continued: “The MEd program will run from September 2009 until the end of summer 2011, with classes held on weekends during the school year, says an article in Teacher newsmagazine.”


  • Shaw-TV will send a crew from its The Express program to the Burnaby campus on Monday, with the results being aired Tuesday March 31 at 3pm.  Shaw will shoot a segment with national champion Ashley McKilligan and other members of the Clan women’s wrestling team, film Christine Huynh’s Visual Art display, Look; record a rap teaching presentation on Darwin and evolution with SFU alum Baba Brinkman; and visit student Central.


  • SFU Co-op told media that the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education kicked off National Co-operative Education Week (March 23-27) by naming Katelyn Mueller one of two 2008 National Co-op Students of the Year. Mueller is an SFU molecular biology and biochemistry undergraduate student, holds a 4.16 cumulative grade point average, and has had work published nationally and internationally.
  • SFU also told media how biology prof Felix Breden and doctoral student Kristen Fay Gorman have discovered the first animal model for studying idiopathic scoliosis. They have found that the guppy, a colourful tropical fish, is the perfect model for studying a genetic disease that plagues mostly young girls.

ALSO in the NEWS

  • The Government of Scotland websitelisted “Scotland Week” events in Canada and the U.S.  April 4-11. Among other things, it noted Michael Russell, Scotland’s minister for culture, external affairs and the constitution will speak at the Simon Fraser University Burns Symposium and meet with cultural, business and education contacts here and in Victoria.
  • Coquitlam Now reported that the Family & Community Services Society is bringing together 20 athletes for a 72-hour round-the-clock wrestling marathon to raise money for the food bank—and hopes of getting into the Guinness Book of World Records. “Coquitlam resident Nicole Matthews plans to referee a portion of the event, squeezing in the volunteer work between study sessions for her kinesiology exams at SFU.”
  • The Aldergrove Star and Hope Standard gave advance ink to a lecture about the Fraser River this Saturday, March 28 (Langley Centennial Museum and National Exhibition Centre, 1-3 pm). It’s one of a series co-sponsored by SFU to mark the 200th anniversary of Simon Fraser’s expedition. Previous lectures were held in Prince George, Quesnel, Lillooet and Vancouver.
  • Coquitlam Now featured Jasmine Pena, one of 30 people headed to the Philippines in May to help build homes for impoverished families in her native country. The paper noted Pena is president of SFU's Filipino Student Association. “There's so many preventable diseases that can be prevented by basic sanitation that is not implemented—things that we don't think about here, and maybe take for granted.”
  • The Prince George Citizen reported SFU prof emeritus John Borden will get an honorary degree from the university of Northern BC May 29. Biologist Borden, who retired from SFU in 2003, is a forest insect expert, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and chief scientific officer of Pherotech International, a biological pest management enterprise and SFU spin-off.
  • Saratoga (NY) Today reported that Alan R. Davis was inaugurated this week as the third president of Empire State College of the State University of New York. He was previously vice-president academic at Vancouver Community College. He has a PhD and MSc in chemistry from SFU.
  • The Comox Valley Record promoted a public symposium in Courtenay this weekend on dementia. It stems from a survey of caregivers. “Wendy Johnstone, who has a master’s degree in gerontology from Simon Fraser University, developed the survey.”


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