SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - April 3, 2009

April 3, 2009

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A look at how Simon Fraser University and its people made news: March 27-April 3, 2009             

The vision of a Vancouver as seen by Anthony Perl, director of SFU Urban Studies, is the subject of a hefty feature in the latest Vancouver Magazine.
"If we want to get serious about being connected to the rest of the world . . . you’d be looking at up to 20 trains between here and Seattle. . . . There’d probably be another five or six trains a day to Calgary.”
And then there's his thought about a real downtown university.
More on all this below.


  • The Vancouver Sun and other media visited the Woodward’s project in Vancouver. The Sun noted: “SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts will be in a new nine-storey building on the southwestern side of the site. It will include several performance spaces and theatres, including a dramatic space in the basement with a 40-foot ceiling that will seat up to 400 people.”
    The Globe and Mail also ran a story, saying the school “is expected to bring thousands of young, educated people to the neighbourhood on a daily basis.”  We saw or heard other stories in and on CTV, CBC, 24Hours, CKNW, and CKWX News 1130.

  • Public policy prof Jon Kesselman wrote a guest column in The Vancouver Sun saying BC should follow Ontario in “harmonizing” its provincial sales taxes with the federal GST. BC, though, should give faster tax credits to larger businesses. “Ontario has shown that sales tax harmonization is fiscally, technically and politically feasible. B.C. should quickly follow suit and pursue an even better course.”
  • The Province wrote about a Port Hardy school principal who (until he learned it was illegal in Canada) used a cellphone jammer to stop kids using cellphones in class. Teachers applauded; students didn’t. SFU Communication prof Richard Smith said fighting cellphone use is fruitless.
    “The mobile phone is part of our culture right now. You're just as likely to get rid of mobile phones as you are to get rid of hoodies and those caps the kids wear backwards. . .  The challenge for teachers and principals is to determine ways they can be integrated into classrooms. That will include teaching children and coming to an agreement with children about when it's appropriate and when it's inappropriate."
  • Burnaby Now featured SFU instructor Lorna Fadden and her research into language as a lie detector, a story on which SFU sent out a news release in February.
    “As part of her PhD research,” the News wrote, “Fadden watched several hours of police interrogation videos, courtesy of Vancouver and New Westminster police. . . . ‘It's quite novel,’ she says of her research. ‘Police interviews haven't been described to this level of detail yet.’"
  • Ming Pao’s Saturday magazine featured four students in SFU’s MBA program in Global Asset & Wealth Management, and why they chose their field of study. Anna Liu, Maggie Yu, Matthew Li and Kurt Hu placed third in the ACG Cup competition, designed by the Association for Corporate Growth to give students from business schools experience and insights into mergers and acquisitions, investment banking and more.
    Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal ran a Dow Jones News Service feature on ACG.It quoted, among others, Robin Chakabarti, an SFU MBA grad who now is with Empresario Capital Partners.
  • The Vancouver Courier reported business is booming in the barter industry. Among experts quoted was Ginger Grant, director of the Creative Intelligence Lab and an adjunct prof with SFU Business and SFU Interactive Arts and Technology.
  • Shaw-TV’s program The Express on March 31 was shot on location at the Burnaby campus. Segments included national champion Ashley McKilligan and other members of the Clan women’s wrestling team, Christine Huynh’s Visual Art display, Look; a rap teaching presentation on Darwin and evolution with SFU alum Baba Brinkman; and a visit to Student Central.


  • The Globe and Mail’s weekly Globe Roundtable discussed, among other things, the U.S. and Canadian handling of the General Motors restructuring and the G20 meetings in London.  Public policy prof Doug McArthur is a member of the group, and said:
    • On GM: “ . . . if the people are going to have to save them (GM and other auto companies) through their government and through their tax dollars, then the government has a right to say in who's running (GM) and how it's going to be done. . . .” As for Canada: “So we're going to be just tucked right in behind the U.S., copying them fully. And I guess as long as the U.S. government's making good policy decisions, that's good for us.”
    • On the G20 summit: “As everyone agrees, there's more money needed to be put into the IMF. Canada is going to be . . . right with the United States on these questions and partly because we've been with them in the past and we sit in the same position as them.”
      The Roundtable debate is at:
  • McArthur was also in a Globe and Mail story that looked at disputes with first nations groups surrounding Enbridge Inc.'s $4-billion Gateway pipeline project that would connect Alberta's oil sands with Asian markets. “Sitting down is crucial and it's going to cost money. It's no longer possible for companies to build these kinds of things without making substantial offers in terms of benefits and compensation."
  • business news looked at the possibility Canada will buy commercial paper and other corporate debt to spur the economy, and create new money to pay for it. Economist Richard Harris was quoted: “I’m sure they are hoping like hell that they don’t have to.”
  • The Financial Post section of National Post looked at how women have increased enrolment in Canada's leading MBA programs. The story noted that half of SFU’s undergraduate business students are women, as are more than a third of MBA students.
    “While there may be a glass ceiling at the highest levels in business circles, these barriers have largely been broken not only for students, but also for faculty.” The story cited a study of women in business by SFU profs Blaize Reich and Dianne Cyr, Scaling the Ivory Tower.
  • The Canadian Press reported how some BC politicians are using Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other online channels in their campaigns. “It's a necessary marketing tool these days for anything, and because of that, political parties and interest groups are crazy if they don't use it,'' said instructor Kathy Cross of SFU Communication. The story was quickly picked up by CTV.
  • As mentioned here last week, the March 29 Sunday Edition program on CBC Radio was taped at SFU’s Segal Graduate School of Business in Vancouver, with Michael Enright hosting a panel of speakers on the subject “Capitalism as we know it: Broken Beyond Repair?”
    The podcast now is online here.
    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.
  • Political scientist Andrew Heard was in a story in Maclean’s on how British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for an end to discriminatory laws of royal succession last week. Brown cited the legal precedence of male heirs and the 300-year-old ban on royals marrying Catholics. Heard said he thought Ottawa would readily agree to changing laws that "run counter to modern democratic values."
    Heard was also in Hill Times, Ottawa’s political weekly. The article was about a new book arguing that Governor General Michaëlle Jean made the right decision in proroguing Parliament last fall when Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government was teetering on defeat.
  • The Switzerland-based website of picked up two news releases from SFU, telling media that:
    • Four SFU researchers say the findings of an international marine study they co-authored with more than 30 other scientists sounds an alarm bell for marine life globally. Tropical marine ecologist Isabelle Côté, fish conservation ecologist John Reynolds and marine biology postdoctoral fellows Michelle Paddack and Phil Molloy are co-authors of a study in Current Biology. They found that coral reef degradation in the Caribbean is as much to blame for declining fish populations as overfishing.
    • 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.
  • Canwest News Service carried a story on a 2008 study, co-authored by SFU economist Krishna Pendakur, that found the income gap between aboriginal people and other Canadians is alarmingly wide.
    The story first ran in the Georgia Straight last fall. This week, the rediscovered story ran as brand-new in The Vancouver Sun, The Province, and a dozen other newspapers across Canada.
    “’My way of thinking about it is once you start thinking about ethnic disparity in Canada, you should really only be paying attention to aboriginal people,’ says Krishna Pendakur, an economics professor at Simon Fraser University. ‘They're an order of magnitude worse off than all other ethnic minorities.’ He and his brother Ravi Pendakur, a sociologist at the University of Ottawa, recently completed the largest study of its kind quantifying the exact size of that gap, and the results are stark.”
  • Maclean’s reported that the percentage of Canadian teens who describe themselves as Christian is shrinking, but “non-Western religions, such as Islam and Buddhism, are growing in Canada at a surprising speed.” The story began with an introduction to SFU student Mohamed Hadi.
    The physiotherapy student is involved in the Muslim Students' Association, and with Rich in Faith, a Muslim youth group he founded. “Hadi's a busy guy, yet he always finds time for his religion, including prayer five times a day. ‘It helps me stay composed,’ he says, ‘and to maintain balance in my life.’"


  • The BC Almanac show on CBC Radio ran a two-hour broadcast with the SFU Dialogue program Imagine BC from SFU’s Wosk Centre for Dialogue.
    Among speakers on innovative approaches to sustainability were Janet Moore, assistant prof in the undergraduate semester in dialogue, and geographer John Pierce, an expert on natural resource management and community sustainability.
    Joanna Ashworth, director of SFU Dialogue, introduced and wrapped up the program.
    The CBC Radio podcast of the show (RealPlayer software required) is availableat:
    And here’s how BC Almanac invited people to the broadcast forum, and to nominate BC “change-makers”:
    Earlier, Ashworth was interviewed on BC Almanac on how Imagine BC has engaged experts and citizens on a whole set of issues facing BC over the past five years.
    (In February, more than 150 B.C. community leaders gathered at the Wosk Centre for an Imagine BC Summit. That was the culmination of five years of engagement and dialogue with people and ideas from around BC. The summit was preceded by 12 full-page essays in The Vancouver Sun, discussing "big ideas" in food, literacy and citizenship, mental health, nature and health, energy efficiency, social networking, health, creativity, eco-system management, sustainability education and economics.)


  • Columnist Stephen Hume wrote in The Vancouver Sun a plea for BC to protect the McAbee fossil beds near Cache Creek. Objecting to a government decision to lease an area to “an open pit cat litter quarry”, Hume quoted SFU paleo-entomologist Bruce Archibald as saying the number of previously unknown species found there is in the hundreds.
    Archibald also blasted the government’s move to distinguish between "significant" and "common" fossils. “In fact, they're all important. Even the ones not presented for inspection by the (quarry) claimholders for whatever reason, and the ones that are destroyed in the excavation process by those who haven't the motivation or eye to see and retain obscure specimens."
  • CBC’s coverage of the worldwide dimming of lights for Earth Hour included, before the March 28 event, a live discussion in which one expert was Ken Lertzman, environmental management prof and director of SFU’s School of Resource and Environmental Management.


  • Gary Mauser, prof emeritus and gun guru, was on GlobalTV in a story about the care-home shooting incident in Gibsons BC. He ripped into the federal gun registry as defective, costly, and having had no impact on gun crimes, homicides or suicides.
    Global asked how easy it is for Canadians to get firearms. “It’s really quite hard,” he said, involving a lengthy process of criminal, background and reference checks. “Thousands are turned down.”
    Farther from home, Chicago-based reported Texas lawmakers are debating a bill that would allow the carrying of concealed handguns on campuses. Among other things, it  cited a 2006 study by Mauser that found anti-gun laws do not have an impact on crime rates.  (Texas is one of seven states exploring on-campus firearm legislation. Similar bills have been proposed, and failed to pass, in 18 others.)
    Mauser was also in the Epoch Times, talking about federal plans to end the 2-for-1 credit for days served in pre-trial custody. Mauser saw it as positive, but said the government still has to focus on tightening up parole.
  • Canwest News Service carried a newsfeature on how “Canada's cities are in the grip of a sharp, new cycle of gang violence. .  . .” Among those quoted was Rob Gordon, director of SFU Criminology: “Public shootings are a matter of convenience. . . . People aren't as easy targets as in the past, so gangs will follow someone around in public until they can make a hit. They're not concerned with collateral damage. All they care about is hitting the target."
    Gordon was also on KOMO 1000 radio, Seattle, in a special on gangs and gang violence in BC. KOMO, which has 486,000 listeners, interviewed him on the Burnaby campus.


  • Anthony Perl’s vision of a future Vancouver, as featured in Vancouver Magazine, can be read in full at  Here are just two of his thoughts, condensed:
    • “If we want to get serious about being connected to the rest of the world, we’ll have to broaden the ways to get to and from here, which means looking seriously at trains. You’d be looking at up to 20 trains between here and Seattle, with 15 of them going to Portland and probably 10 going at least as far as Eugene and five as far as Northern California. There’d probably be another five or six trains a day to Calgary.”
    • “You can’t have a great city without a real, full university in its centre—I’m not taking away from UBC or SFU for trying to do things downtown, but they’re branch plants of suburban campuses. . . . We need a University of Vancouver. It doesn’t have to be great, but it has to be based in the city. And we need that student population downtown. . . . It brings a dimension of life to a city that Vancouver, for all its dynamism, lacks.”
  • Perl was also in a story in the Surrey-North Delta Leader, which quoted TransLink as saying it could have to shelve planned SkyTrain extensions in Surrey and Vancouver unless it gets the entire $450 million increase in annual funding it seeks.
    Perl said gutting TransLink service isn't logical—but TransLink could get more bang for our bucks by making more use of light rail and electric buses. “It would cost tens of billions of dollars to build enough SkyTrain-type service throughout the valley to meet the demands of people who in future will be looking for ways to get around without their cars."


  • The Vancouver Sun carried an item on the launch of SFU’s new Faculty of Environment: “Simon Fraser University’s drab concrete is getting a splash of green: starting Wednesday, the Burnaby Mountain institution is launching the Faculty of Environment.”
  • Surrey Now told readers that more than 100 elementary and high school students would compete at the third annual South Fraser Regional Science Fair, held this week at SFU’s Surrey campus.
  • CTV News carried an item on how Canadian universities are cutting courses because of tight budgets. “McMaster University  . . . is putting an end to its gerontology major. In Vancouver, the Simon Fraser Centre for Canadian Studies has lost its entire budget for next year. And across campuses programs such as women's studies and foreign-language studies are being phased out.”


  • SFU Athletics told media how Clan student-athletes Arjan Bhullar (wrestling) and Robyn Buna (basketball) were named the 2009 Lorne Davies Male and Female Athletes of the Year at the 2009 Clan Awards Gala. Details on these and other awards are at:
  • SFU Athletics also told media how the Clan men’s soccer program, in partnership with the Burnaby School District, will launch a soccer Sport Academy in the fall. Similar to academies offered by the SFU swimming and diving and softball programs, it will be open to students in Grades 9-12. SFU head coach Alan Koch will oversee it all. CTV was quick to run a story.
  • The Province was the first to report that “the Whitecaps women have their man.” In other words: “Sources confirmed Saturday that Simon Fraser University men's head coach Alan Koch will coach the USL W-League side in 2009.”
    Koch, a former NAIA All-American with the Clan, guided SFU to an 11-5-1 record in his first season at the helm in 2008, missing out on the NAIA championship tournament in penalty kicks.
  • The Province featured Clan middle-distance runner Ryan Brockerville. His talent was spotted by Newfoundland track coach Ray Will, who had coached former Clan great Julia Howard. "He mentioned Ryan in an e-mail to me," said Clan coach Brit Townsend. "He said he had been watching this kid who was a real raw talent from a small, rural town in Newfoundland. He didn't even have a track to train on. He was just a kid who loved to run."
    The Clan track and field team is at home April 4, hosting the SFU Open.
  • And after a two-week break, the Clan softball team is back on the field April 4 for a twinbill with the Seattle University RedHawks. Games start at 2pm and 4pm at North Delta Park, 112th Street and 84th Avenue in North Delta.
  • The Vancouver Sun reported last week’s decision by the SFU Board of Governors to give a green light to SFU Athletics to proceed with an application to join the NCAA Division II. The Sun quoted Clan women’s softball coach Mike Renney, and ran a photo of Clan pitcher Jennifer Van Egdom and catcher Meaghan Cumpstone. In Ontario, the Windsor Star picked up the story.
  • Earlier, the Edmonton Journal and Windsor Star picked up a Canwest News Service story (originally from The Province) on how the SFU board of governors gave a green light 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.
    The Burnaby NewsLeader also ran a story.


  • CBC Radio ran under several labels on several channels (including the national Q show on arts, culture and entertainment) stories on SFU photographer-prof Jin-me Yoon of SFU Contemporary Arts. She is one of four international finalists selected for the Grange Prize for contemporary photography. To vote online, visit: This year's winner will be announced on May 26.
  • The Globe and Mail carried a lengthy story on Dedicated to the Revolutions, a theatrical “science experiment” that director Jacob Zimmer is presenting at Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times theatre. “Zimmer, 33, simply doesn't like to put things in a box, an attitude that comes from training at the interdisciplinary Simon Fraser University School for the Contemporary Arts, where he had to learn about visual arts, dance and design in addition to theatre. It was back at SFU that Zimmer first began to conceive of Dedicated to the Revolutions.”


In addition to releases mentioned above:

  • Leith Davis, director of SFU’s Centre for Scottish Studies, told media how Scottish bard Robbie Burns, marking his 250th anniversary this year, will be feted during Scotland Week  (April 6-10) with a series of events hosted by the centre, including an international workshop on Burns’ impact on the Americas.


  • The Bismarck (ND) Tribune and the Jamaica Observer in Kingston, Jamaica, picked up from The Associated Press a Canadian Press story from two weeks ago on the illegal drug trade in BC. It quoted Rob Gordon, director of SFU Criminology: “The Lower Mainland area, Metro Vancouver, has become a safe place in which to grow and produce a variety of drugs. It's a combination of our geography, a somewhat more laid-back approach to drugs and drug use, and the proximity to the border, easy export routes primarily to the United States.”
    We saw the story on a flew blogs, as well.
  • The Yukon News carried a New York Times story on how scientists in Texas have found a colony of billions of genetically identical amoebas, in a cow pasture outside Houston. Evolutionary biologist Bernard Crespi of SFU 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.
  • The Saskatoon StarPhoenix ran a story from the Ottawa Citizen that reported undergrads have long been losing interest in Canadian politics, and “enrolment in Canadian politics courses is still dropping at many universities.” The paper noted SFU’s Centre for Canadian Studies (CCS) has no budget for teaching or operating beyond the end of the spring semester.

ALSO in the NEWS

  • The Winnipeg Free Press reviewed a new cookbook, Everyday Indian: 100 Fast, Fresh and Healthy Recipes, by SFU grad Bal Arneson.  The paper said of the author: “It’s a long way from growing up cooking over an outdoor pit in a rural village in the Punjab of India to completing a master’s degree at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.”


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