SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - September 11, 2009

September 11, 2009

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A look at how Simon Fraser University and its people made news: Sept. 4-10, 2009

So what was CBC-TV’s Rick Mercer doing on the Burnaby campus this week?
Getting up close and personal with laboratory mosquitoes. Taking a zany bagpipe lesson from a member of the world-champion SFU Pipe Band. And launching the Spread the Net campaign to raise funds to buy bed nets for Africa, to combat the spread of malaria.
And those other TV cameras on campus? News crews interviewing SFU’s Apollonia Cifarelli about H1N1 flu.
More on these stories below.
  • Apollonia Cifarelli, director of SFU Environmental Health and Safety, did a long string of media interviews (for the second week in a row) on what SFU is doing to prepare for the expected fall outbreak of H1N1 influenza.
    She spoke with CBC Radio, CTV, GlobalTV, Omni-TV (the multicultural channel formerly known as Channel M), Fairchild-TV, CKWX News1130 and with Burnaby Now.
    And then on Wednesday the floodgates opened: CKWX was the first to report a suspected case of H1N1 in an employee at the Surrey campus, and other media immediately followed en masse. CBC-TV, CTV, GlobalTV and CityTV brought cameras up to the Burnaby campus.
    The Canadian Press news agency went to the Surrey campus.
  • The Vancouver Sun turned an SFU news release into the main story on Page 1 on Sept. 10. The headline: “Brace for wild B.C. weather in decades ahead: study/Governments must take more action to lessen our vulnerability, SFU report warns.”
    The story began: “British Columbians should brace themselves for more raging forest fires, fiercer wind storms, devastating droughts, and extreme rains, snowfall and floods over the next three decades as the sea level rises and the global climate continues to warm, according to a new report from Simon Fraser University.”
    The report from SFU’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT) recommends establishing a national climate action centre, an integrated national public alerting system and a climate information service, to ensure emergency-response organizations and individuals receive timely warnings of climate hazards.
    Stories also ran in 15 other newspapers across Canada. picked up the story, too.
  • The Vancouver Sun looked at back-to-school commuting on Sept. 8. Among the experiences: “‘It was actually pretty easy,’ said Mal Robert of London, a senior at Simon Fraser University who arrived at Waterfront Station after arriving on an overseas flight. ‘I didn’t even realize it was rush hour.’”
  • The Province alsolooked at back-to-school commuting now that SkyTrain’s Canada Line and the Golden Ears Bridge have been added. “‘People do not like change in their day-to-day habits, but this will give people more choice," said Gordon Price, a former Vancouver city councillor who is now director of SFU's city program. ‘More people will benefit than will be annoyed, but we'll hear from the people who are annoyed,’" he said.
  • Price was also in the Richmond Review, which said the new Canada Line on SkyTrain is “already proving its usefulness.” But the paper explored with Price if it will in fact reduce road congestion. “Gordon Price, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, said simply introducing transit doesn't usually result in a drop in road congestion. ‘When you've got a system that basically delivers free road space to people, and there's a reduction for any reason, there's a real incentive to fill it up again,’ said Price, a regular lecturer on transportation issues.”
  • SFU Communication prof Catherine Murray was on CKWX News 1130, talking about the appearance of new Liberal “attack ads” on TV as the possibility of a fall election ramped up. She said attack ads do work, particularly when they attack the credibility of a party leader.
  • Jeremy Brown, assistant prof in SFU History, was on the Early Edition show on CBC Radio. Brown, who specializes in modern China, explained the historical context of recent ethnic unrest between Han Chinese and Muslim Uyghurs in Northwest China and the role of exiled Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer.
  • Epoch Times did a story on how Julian Somers, associate prof in SFU Health Sciences, is principal investigator for the Vancouver site of a new $110-million five-city Canadian research demonstration project in mental health and homelessness. “There is a very intensive clinical and social-support component to this study, so people who have different levels of health, mental health, and social service needs will have those addressed,” said Somers. “Those are the components of the study that are being delivered alongside housing.”
  • The Tri-City News told readers: “University students will be the beneficiaries of expanded transit capacity in the Tri-Cities this fall, according to TransLink. Simon Fraser University students can look forward to better service as the #143 Coquitlam Station to SFU will be roomier because articulated buses that can accommodate more students will be used on the route beginning Sept. 7.” The Burnaby NewsLeader had a similar story.


  • Genome Canada and Genome BC announced to media the participants in a $3.4-million study of gene functions in grapevine and yeast cells, “ultimately helping growers and winemakers to improve wine production techniques and enjoy valuable cost savings”.
    The release said political scientists from SFU are studying social, political and regulatory contexts for scientific innovation as they relate to the wine industry. Named were David Laycock, Michael Howlett, Steven Weldon and Andy Hira.
  • The Canadian Auto Workers union marked Labor Day by telling media that employed women in Canada now outnumber employed men, for the first time. But the CAW said this reflects more unemployment among men than economic growth for women. It quoted SFU’s Marjorie Griffin Cohen, political scientist and chair of women’s studies:
    “Males dominate all of the export industries, and it is these industries in the resource and manufacturing sectors that have been hardest hit by the economic crisis, resulting in a high level of male unemployment. . . . The most dramatic drop in women's employment in manufacturing occurred as a result of the FTA and NAFTA, so that few women work in this sector now.”
    The Toronto Star quoted her as well: “The new StatsCan data for women's employment raise serious questions about how we treat children and families. It may be just a blip. But if this is a long-term trend, it indicates a major structural change in the labour force. It means that (child care) is not just a women's issue, but a fundamental issue for our society to deal with."
    The Star story also ran in the Waterloo Region Record.
  • The Globe and Mail reported a new work of Haida art will replace the crumbling 12-metre “Jasper Raven” totem pole that is a feature of Jasper AB.  That pole will be returned to Haida Gwaii. “George MacDonald, director of the Bill Reid Centre for Northwest Coast Art Studies at Simon Fraser University . . .  placed a potential auction-block value on the relic at seven figures.”
  • Prof emeritus Herb Grubel (economics) had a letter to the editor in the Financial Post section of National Post, defending the monetary theories of the late Milton Friedman (a Nobel prize-winner in economics). And saying of Ben Bernanke, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve:  “Bernanke has indeed followed Friedman's advice and did not let the money supply contract. But he overshot and created too much money, something a computer would not have done and Friedman would not have condoned.”
  • The Balkans Investigative Reporting Network carried an advance story on a vote by the state parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina on extension of the mandates of foreign judges and prosecutors there. (Their mandate expires in December.) The story quoted SFU's Lara Nettelfield, assistant prof of international studies: “Their departure should be based on the status of the local judiciary, which will be checked by using objective criteria and not by sticking to arbitrary dates.” (Nettelfield is in Sarajevo. Her forthcoming book is about the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.)


  • UniversityWorldNews featured SFU criminologist Eric Beauregard and Robert Gordon, director of SFU Criminology, on the subject of interviewing criminals for academic research.
    “Beauregard . . . estimated he has interviewed 1,200 sex offenders. . . . (He) often convinces a research subject to participate by playing up the bookish side of the academic. ‘I tell them I've spent a lot of years listening to professors and reading books but I need to learn from people who know what they're talking about.’"
    The UniversityWorldNews added: “Gordon and Beauregard say they have developed ways to foresee dangers. They also understand they can be manipulated by prisoners, and, with that in mind, they say it takes a special type of researcher to help them gather interviews.”
  • National Public Radio’s public affairs/comedy show ("Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me"…) used SFU’s new FD failure grade for academic cheats as one of itspop quiz questions.
    And Burnaby Now came up with its own story on the FD grade, and quoted Jo Hinchliffe, assistant registrar and academic integrity coordinator. "‘(It's) to let students know we're take it seriously,’ said Jo Hinchliffe, the university's assistant registrar and academic integrity coordinator.”
  • The Chilliwack Times featured a new continuing studies course (at University of the Fraser Valley) for amateur fossil-hunters. It quoted SFU palaeontologist Bruce Archibald: “Anything that teaches the proper way to handle materials and have respect for the sites is a good thing.”
    He also said well-meaning amateur collectors shouldn't be lumped in with destructive commercial fossil-hunters. “It's like confusing sports hunters, who want to go out and get their moose, with someone who's poaching bear parts for the black market."
  • The Tri-City News featured Laurie Wong, SFU Education student, who has “won a place with 16 other SFU bachelor of education students to teach kids in Grades 5 to 12 in Dharamsala, a Tibetan refugee community at the foothills of the Himalayas, where the 14th Dalai Lama lives. . . . Wong will be streamlined to help the older students in India with their English and science studies.”


  • The Vancouver Sun reported several Vancouver private schools are screening applicants to determine if their families are linked to gangs and pose a risk to students and staff. “Simon Fraser University criminologist Robert Gordon said that, just like mainstream moguls, wealthy gangsters want the best for their children. At the same time, they aim for legitimacy by enrolling family in staid institutions such as private schools. ‘These people are low on the bling table,'’ Gordon said. ‘They are not Tony Soprano.’”
    By way of Canwest News Service, the story also ran in National Post and nine other newspapers across Canada.
  • 24Hours and quoted Gordon in a story on an anti-gang advertising campaign by Abbotsford police. (Their campaign opener featured a picture of a coffin in a hearse and a stern warning to teens engaging in gang activity.) “Gordon believes the only impact the posters will have is on youth who have already decided not to engage in criminal activity.”
  • The Vancouver Sun wrote about a provincial report recording that there were 117 homicides in BC last year, 29 more than in 2007. “Simon Fraser University criminologist Robert Gordon said the increase is due to gang-related homicides.” And, he added: “There's been a shift in activity of organized crime groups from Metro Vancouver to the Fraser Valley. That shift caught everyone by surprise—police included."
  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader reported the appointment of Virginia Hasselfield as a civilian member of the Transit Police Board. The paper identified her as “a former director on the board of the Fraser River Port Authority with experience in commerce, fundraising and corporate change. She is director of leadership giving in SFU Advancement.


  • SFU Athletics fed media information and statistics as:
    • April Coffin scored her second goal of the year to give the Clan women’s soccer team a 1-0 win over University of Victoria Vikes. The Clan play an away game Friday night (Sept. 11) at Northwest University (Kirkland WA).
    • Coffin was then named the Clan Athlete of the Week after leading SFU to a 3-0 record, and accumulating six points during a three-game stretch.
    • The men Vikes edged the Clan men’s soccer team 2-1, dropping SFU to 4-2 on the season. Farhad Abdulgani scored the first goal of his SFU career. The Clan face Notre Dame de Namur University (in Belmont CA) Friday (Sept. 11) and Menlo College (in Atherton CA) on Sunday (Sept. 13).
  • Athletics also sent to media preview info on the Clan football team’s game against the Manitoba Bisons (Friday Sept. 11, 7pm, Terry Fox field, Burnaby campus). “SFU is expected to have middle linebacker Chris Folk (Kelowna, B.C.), defensive tackle John Reeves (New Westminster, B.C.), halfback Aeron Kawakami (Richmond, B.C.) and wideout Spencer Watt (North Vancouver, B.C.) all back in the lineup against the Bisons.”
    Athletics also told media how the football team entered the University Football Reporters of Canada-Canadian Interuniversity Sport “Top 10” this week for the first time this fall.  The Clan stood at #10. (First by unanimous selection were the defending Vanier Cup champions, the Laval Rouge et Or.)
  • The Vancouver Sun ran a story on SFU student Jeremy Ten, who is at Skate Canada’s national team development camp in Vancouver. Ten was the Canadian junior champion in 2007, made his debut at senior nationals in 2008 and later won a surprise national bronze medal, and a 17th place at his first world championships. The Sun story appeared in five other newspapers across the country.
  • The Aldergrove Star featured athletic brothers Mark and Matt Isherwood. “Mark, a 20-year-old defenceman  . . . earned an invitation to rookie camp with the Boston Bruins. Younger brother Matt, 18, is off to Simon Fraser University this fall on a football scholarship."
  • Burnaby Now featured the Burnaby Canadians women’s soccer club of the premier division of the Metro Women's Soccer League. The story noted the team’s goalkeeper is SFU’s Ariel Anderson (who is sitting out a year from the Clan) and the team manager is SFU grad Erin Cheng.
  • Burnaby Now also named new members of the SFU men’s hockey program for the coming B.C. Intercollegiate hockey league season: Grandview Steelers alumni Bill Smith and Adam Chapman will join ex-Steelers Paul Moscone, Jackson Friesen and Sergei Dobrianski at SFU. So will former forward Patrik Martin, defenceman Kyle Boyko, and Mat Tzetzos.  The paper noted the club had announced the addition of Rob Fuchs as goaltending coach, and the signing of forward Jon Bokla.


  • Comedian Rick Mercer was at the Burnaby campus this week to kick off this year’s Spread the Net campaign and to film a segment for his hit CBC-TV program The Rick Mercer Report. (Spread the Net raises dollars for bed nets to reduce the transmission of malaria to children in Africa.)
    As part of the visit, SFU biologist Carl Lowenberger persuaded Mercer to place his head in a glass cage filled with hundreds of mosquitoes.
    Then Mercer’s host, Fiona Burrows of SFU’s office of Public Affairs and Media Relations, capped that with a bagpipe lesson for Mercer from piper John Sutherland of the world-champion SFU Pipe Band.
    Mercer gamely wore a band kilt—and, as his crew dissolved into fits of laughter, found out, on camera, that it really does take “seven years to make a piper.”
    The SFU segment of the Mercer show airs later this fall; date TBA.
  • Speaking of the pipe band: The Vancouver edition of Metro carried a story on how pipers from the SFU Pipe Band fared in the historic Northern Meeting in Inverness, Scotland. Pipe Sergeant Jack Lee was third in the “clasp” competition, limited to past winners of the Gold Medal at the annual meeting. Callum Beaumont was fifth in the prime gold medal event, and third in the Grade A March, Strathspey and Reel event. Jack Lee’s son Colin was fourth in the latter bracket. Alastair Lee placed second in the Grade B Strathspey and Reel contest. Lee (son of SFU Pipe Major Terry Lee) was also fifth in the Grade B March event. Only 100 pipers are invited, and the event has been held annually for 210 years.
  • The website, devoted to film festivals, used an SFU news release on last week’s announcement that SFU Contemporary Arts at Woodward’s will receive $1 million in funding through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage. The money will support the school’s two largest performance spaces: the 450-seat Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre and another 350-seat cinema that is still unnamed. Epoch Times also did a story.
  • SFU grad Caroline Sniatynski was featured in the Georgia Straight and The Vancouver Sun as she arranged to bring together some 30 senior students and recent graduates from university and college theatre programs for HIVE—the new bees. That’s a number of short plays in a row, some performed simultaneously in the same room, as part of the Vancouver International Fringe Festival next week.
  • The Globe and Mail featured documentary-maker Dan Pierce of Victoria and his film about efforts to preserve a dead cedar tree in Victoria. “It is a reminder of the arboreal giants logged a century ago.” The story noted Pierce graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree from SFU last year.


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