SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - October 23, 2009

October 23, 2009

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A look at how Simon Fraser University and its people made news: Oct. 16-23, 2009

SFU came in for some strong coverage in national and international media during the week.
SFU people were in the New York Times, onnational CBC-TV and CBC Radio, on KOMO-TV in Seattle, in Maclean’s magazine and the Globe and Mail, in a National Post podcast, and in the Montreal Gazette, Winnipeg Free Press, Fredericton Gleaner, Canwest News Service, anda science website in Switzerland.
As well, two SFU scientists will be on the National Geographic channel in the U.S. next week.


  • A big media hit for Mark Roseland, director of the SFU Centre for Sustainable Community Development: He was quoted at length in a New York Times column that argued “all action on climate change is ultimately local.”
    Said Roseland: “These are not issues that are dealt with by a president signing something.”
    The Times continued: “It is also about recognizing, Mr. Roseland said, that the uncertain prospects for a global treaty in Copenhagen mean that local communities will need to lead the way on climate change—a problem that, at this late date, permits little room for dithering.
    “‘I think there’s a lot of people who recognize that if we don’t have an agreement at Copenhagen, we can’t wait,’ he said, ‘and this stuff will be very much driven from the bottom up, until senior leaders get their act together.’”
  • Immigration expert Don DeVoretz was on CBC-TV and CBC Radio talking about the arrival by ship of 76 Tamil refugees on the BC coast. He said in one CBC Radio interview that Canada should have been “much more aggressive months ago” in anticipating waves of Tamils, and preparing to process and accommodate them.
    In another CBC Radio interview, he added: “Victoria is a long way from Colombo, Sri Lanka. And so they're looking for a soft spot. Interesting they didn't try the United States because border security there is really tough and the refugee system is really tough.”
    And on The National on CBC-TV he said: “The burden probably of proof is going to be on the Canadian government here to prove that these people are terrorists. That's pretty difficult.”
    The economics prof is co-director of the Centre for Research on Immigration and Integration in the Metropolis at SFU.
  • Forensic entomologist Gail Anderson had a big media hit, too: a three-minute feature (“Crime-solving critters”) on KOMO4-TV Seattle:
    “You could say those bugs talk to Anderson. Their cycle of mating, laying eggs and maturing all tell her the story of just when someone died. And that timeline can make or break alibis.
    “Anderson described the outcome of one case she worked on, without using names or going into the specifics. ‘The police officer just walked in and slammed my report down on the table in front of them (the suspects) and said, “I've got scientific evidence here to prove you're lying to me,” and they both rolled,’ she said.”
    (Anderson and forensic botanist Rolf Mathewes and their work star in a National Geographic TV show: Mystery of the Disembodied Feet. It will be aired on the National Geographic channel in the U.S. on Tuesday Oct. 27 (10pm Pacific Time). No date has been set yet for a Canadian broadcast.)
  • CKNW and CBC Radio ran long live interviews with Janette Sadik-Khan, New York City’s transportation commissioner. She was here for a public event put on by the SFU City Program and SFU Continuing Studies. The Province also ran a story—and all three media outlets gave advance promotion to the event that took place at the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday.
    The Globe and Mail talked to her for a national story, and noted that her SFU speech “attracted a beyond-capacity registration of 500 people”.
  • Maclean’s magazine began a series on “The Retirement Crisis” and, in Part One, quoted SFU economist Jonathan Kesselman. “There's no real threat of the country going bust, says Jonathan Kesselman, a public policy professor at Simon Fraser University, but it will become a huge political issue. ‘How much will the working population in the year 2030 be willing to see their taxes go to support old folks, versus supporting the things they want, like better highways, schools and health care for themselves?’"
  • SFU biologist Isabelle Côté did interviews with Radio Canada and the Georgia Straight on an SFU study that warns marine reserves globally may require up to 15 years of protection before they significantly benefit their fish inhabitants, especially large locally fished species.
  • Switzerland-based picked up an SFU news release about how research expertise from SFU has helped scientists at the B.C. Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre map the genome of a metastatic breast cancer tumour, and identify its mutations over a nine-year period. The findings pave the way for faster genomic profiling of all kinds of cancerous tumours. To coincide with national breast cancer month, the researchers published their findings in the Oct. 8, 2009 issue of Nature.
  • The office of Governor General Michaelle Jean announced to media that on a state visit to Greece, Oct. 29-31, her delegation will include André Gerolymatos, chair of SFU Hellenic Studies. He’ll also be invited to blog for the Governor General's website at
  • The Globe and Mail and VANOC announced to media that top academics have been invited to produce podcasts on topics related to the 2010 Winter Games. Already in the lineup: SFU criminologist Neil Boyd, speaking on Nov. 26 on “Canada’s Legal Landscape: More than just Mounties on Ice?”
  • The Stephen Lewis Foundation told reporters how the national “A Dare to Remember” campaign, to help turn the tide of AIDS in Africa, would feature this:  “Simon Fraser University students will wear ‘I dare you to hug me’ signs and give out hugs across campus and on downtown streets, as one of many dares to raise funds.” Dare Week continues through Sunday.
    As of Oct. 20, the SFU team was holding top spot nationally for raising the most funds.)


  • The Province told readers it has assembled a panel of experts to help small businesses in BC understand the HST; and one of them is SFU’s Jonathan Kesselman.
    The paper promised: “Over the coming months, our experts—including B.C.'s top tax specialists, business leaders and public policy experts—will answer questions from readers on the HST, no matter how simple or complex.”
    And it added: “Simon Fraser University public finance expert Jonathan Kesselman said he'll answer the big-picture' questions about the HST. ‘Why are we doing it? What's good about it? Who's being hurt by it? Who's gaining from it?’”
  • The Georgia Straight looked at whether we can be too clean—so clean that we weaken our immune systems, rather than strengthening them by letting them fight bugs. Among those quoted was Tim Takaro of SFU Health Sciences:
    “Tim Takaro, a physician-scientist at SFU, affirmed that allergy and asthma rates have increased in Canada and throughout North America and Western Europe. However, he was reluctant to attribute this phenomenon solely to causes suggested by the hygiene hypothesis. ‘I think it is more complicated than that.’”
  • Criminologist Neil Boyd wrote a guest piece in The Vancouver Sun saying “Governments, whether at the provincial or federal level, rarely represent a majority of the population, but typically act as if they have a mandate of overwhelming support.”  He concluded: “There needs to be a recognition that substantial minorities need to be a part of any legal process—not every crank with a loud opinion, but credible and significant minorities.”
  • The Vancouver Sun, The Province, the Victoria Times Colonist and Surrey Now carried results of the Mediacorp Canada selection of the top 55 employers in BC for 2009. For the third year in a row, SFU was one of them.
  • The Province featured U.S. author Charlotte Harris Rees, who contends that the first Chinese settlers in Canada arrived some 3,500 years before 1492, when European explorer Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue. The paper told readers how she was to give a presentation at the Vancouver campus Oct. 20, through SFU’s David Lam Centre. The Epoch Times also did a story on her.
  • The Goldstream News Gazette on Vancouver Island noted that some Olympic transit upgrades will be scrubbed after the 2010 Winter Games. It quoted Anthony Perl, director of SFU Urban Studies. “We're going to pretend we're something we're not. It's like we've borrowed our friend's car to go out on a hot date but we've got to give it back after the date is over."
  • Speaking of SFU Urban Studies: The Vancouver Courier interviewed Terri Evans, manager of academic and administrative services in Urban Studies, on the state and fate of Vancouver’s civic Non-Partisan Association.  Among other things, she said: “They need someone who is a star (mayoralty) candidate. They need somebody who can show people that the party is taking a new approach and will have some resonance with a broader populace."
  • The Grand Forks (BC) Gazette carried a health column saying anxiety disorders affect as many as 20% of children and youth. “In fact, Dr. Charlotte Waddell, director of Simon Fraser University's Children's Policy Centre, says, ‘Mental health problems are arguably the leading health problems children face after infancy.’"


  • Canwest News Service reported that “a proposed law to imprison big-time financial fraudsters for at least two years is expected to cruise through Parliament.” It also quoted an SFU criminologist: “Joan Brockman, a white-collar crime expert at Simon Fraser University, said she opposes mandatory minimum sentences, which she said ‘look good politically’ but lead to judges acquitting more people.” The story quickly ran in the Montreal Gazette.
  • Criminologist Neil Boyd was in a Globe and Mail story on proposed BC legislation that would require people seeking welfare and disability benefits to agree to a criminal background check. Boyd said the law may appeal to a segment of the B.C. Liberal Party, but it's unlikely to be effective in deterring abuse of the welfare system.
    And, he continued:  “Social assistance is meant to ensure people don't starve. The fact that you might be in trouble with the law shouldn't affect your right to a provision of basic sustenance."
    Boyd also starred in a National Post podcast on the federal government’s promises to get tough on crime. “Simon Fraser University criminologist Neil Boyd, and lawyer and author Bob Tarantino, join host Chris Selley to debate the issue.”
  • The Globe and Mail quoted another SFU criminologist, David MacAlister, in a story that wondered if cellphone videos of police arrests, taken by bystanders, can or do tell the whole story. MacAlister noted: “The Dziekanski case was a real watershed event in policing to make many police officers aware that they're really not operating behind a curtain or a shield any more: They're going to be exposed to the public light and have to justify their actions down the road.”
  • The Epoch Times did a story headlined: “Sex Offender Support Circles Help Keep Communities Safe”.  The story quoted Rob Gordon, director of SFU Criminology:
    “It’s not that easy to get a sex offender to stop doing what they have been doing. So rather than having these folks locked up in perpetuity or at least until they’re way past the point when they don’t have any interest, COSA (Circles of Support and Accountability) is a solution for communities, and especially for those communities who rightly have great concerns about discharged sex offenders living in their midst.”
  • Gordon was also in a Province story on scams pulled by people involved in churches, or who prey on church members. “The use of churches to separate gullible individuals from their money has a long history,” he said. “There's an association that the person is trustworthy."
  • The Richmond News and Hope Standard carried stories on how master’s grad Kouri Keenan of SFU Criminology examined—and challenged—the “Mr. Big” ploy. That’s the undercover police technique in which officers posing as criminals trick suspects into confessions. The North Shore Outlook ran an editorial.
  • Prof emeritus Gary Mauser wrote a guest column in the Winnipeg Free Press saying: “The current firearms (registry) program is a paper exercise that wastes hundreds of millions of dollars each year and doesn't make us any safer. . . . The money squandered on the registry could be better spent on more probation officers, parole officers, police officers, border security and the technology they need to provide Canadians with real anti-crime protection.”
    Mauser also had a letter to the editor in the Fredericton Daily Gleaner saying that automatically allowing criminals two-for-one credit for days served awaiting trial makes a mockery of the justice system. “Academic research supports common sense: keeping serious offenders in jail longer protects the public. One study found that for every 10 per cent increase of the prison population, there were 13 per cent fewer homicides.”


  • As The Vancouver Sun reported:
    “The Simon Fraser University Clan left little doubt which was the better of two struggling football teams Saturday, soundly defeating the UBC Thunderbirds 30-1 in Shrum Bowl XXXII played on the SFU campus.
    “The win gives the Clan the lead in the all-time series between the two Lower Mainland schools 16-15-1. However, the future of the rivalry game—which was first played in 1967—is in doubt due to SFU's move to the NCAA next season.”
    The Province noted: “The Clan's 30-1 win over the UBC Thunderbirds started in rain, moved through fog, emerged into brilliant T-shirt sunshine, then finished in a torrential downpour.”
    Scoring touchdowns for the Clan were cornerback Marc DesLauriers, 80-yard run with an interception; Spencer Watt, 91-yard strike from quarterback Caleb Clark; Clark himself, on a one-yard plunge; and Andy Emans on a seven-yard play from Clark. Jason Cook converted all four, and the Clan nailed a safety as well.
    Scott McLean of SFU Athletics posted a video recap of the game at:
  • Sports media later reported that the Canada West Universities Athletic Association had penalized the Clan: “Due to an eligibility violation, the official results of two football games played by Simon Fraser University have been overturned.  . . .
    “SFU used an ineligible student-athlete in games played on August 29 versus UBC and September 11 versus University of Manitoba. The student-athlete, a transfer student from an NCAA school, was not in compliance with a CIS eligibility regulation. . . . The two games won by SFU over UBC and Manitoba have been changed to losses for Simon Fraser and wins for the two opponents. The final scores for the games are recorded as 1-0 forfeits by Simon Fraser.”
    (The CIS Eligibility Committee ruled that there had been an inadvertent administrative error and recommended no sanctions against the player or the team. But Canada West overruled that. The student athlete: quarterback Caleb Clark, who was both eligible and excellent in the Shrum Bowl game.)
    CKNW Radio reported: “It’s a black eye for Simon Fraser who is moving to NCAA division-2 next season. However, many at the school say they are the victims of unfair treatment from the conference they are leaving.”
    A Canadian Press story concluded: “As a result of the ruling, SFU fell into last place in the seven-team Canada West Conference at 1-6. Manitoba moved into a tie for third place at 3-3 and UBC moved into sixth place at 2-5.”

SFU Athletics also fed the media with details and statistics as:

  • The Clan women’s basketball team, defending CIS national champions, started their 2009-10 season by defeating the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks 107-49 in SFU’s West Gym. The Clan continue their exhibition schedule this weekend with games against Memorial University (today, Oct. 23, Burnaby campus, West Gym, 3pm) and Windsor (Saturday, Oct. 24, Burnaby campus, West Gym, 1pm; and again on Sunday Oct. 25, Burnaby campus, West Gym, 1pm.)
  • The Clan men’s basketball team defeated the Université de Laval Rouge et Or 91-82 in SFU’s West Gym in their first exhibition game of 2009-10. The next night, though, the University of Windsor Lancers defeated the Clan 89-82 in exhibition action. The Clan men play U of Waterloo today, Oct. 23, Burnaby campus, West Gym, 5pm.
  • The SFU men’s soccer team beat the University of Great Falls Argonauts 2-0. The Clan thus improved to 12-3-0 while the Argonauts dropped to 11-4-0.
  • The Clan women’s and men’s cross country team finished second and fifth at the 2009 Concordia/Puma Cross Country Classic in Portland OR, hosted by Concordia University.
  • The Clan volleyball team prepared to open their season against Trinity Western University, tonight, Oct. 23, Burnaby campus, West Gym, 8pm.


  • Brigham Young University defeated SFU 17-9 in a men’s lacrosse scrimmage at Provo UT.


  • The Globe and Mail issued its annual survey of undergraduate students and how they rate their universities. SFU’s best marks were B+, for teaching, for recreation and athletics, libraries, and campus technology. Our worst: D for food services. The full national results tables are at:
  • The Vancouver Sun’s online education pages carried a report from an SFU expert that found young adults in BC are more likely to have graduated from high school than their counterparts elsewhere in the country. “That's because a sizable percentage are from Asian families, many of whom place high value on education, says author Professor John Richards of Simon Fraser University.”
    The public policy prof did the report on high school dropouts for the C.D. Howe Institute. "Aboriginal education—in particular education among those who identify as Indian/First Nations—is in a state of crisis," it says. "The rate of Métis who have not graduated from high school is twice that for non-aboriginals; the comparable rate for Indian/First Nations is nearly four times that for non-aboriginals."


  • The XTraWest newspaper(“Where Queers Conspire”)looked at BC government cuts in arts funding, and quoted research by Catherine Murray of the Centre of Expertise on Culture and Communities at SFU and Mirjam Gollmitzer, SFU PhD candidate.
    “According to the Mining Association of Canada, the sector grew by 2.8 per cent between 1998 and 2001. That's far behind the arts sector, which grew at 30 percent for the same period, according to Murray and Gollmitzer.”
    XtraWest added: “Moreover, SFU's Murray and Gollmitzer say there is an urgent need for governments to re-think how they can enhance social security and income support for creative workers. ‘Social security is paramount for them to maintain their creative edge, and contribute to a healthy diversity in creative expression,’ the SFU team wrote in its report.” (The report was done in 2008 for the Canadian Conference of the Arts.)


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