SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - December 12, 2008

December 12, 2008

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A look at how SFU and its people made news: Dec. 6-12, 2008              

“Don't worry, be happy—and spend.”
That, according to the Globe and Mail, is the straight economic advice to consumers from marketing prof Lindsay Meredith.
As well, in a story that ran and was aired across the country, he gave some pointed some legal advice to the organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
And political scientist Patrick Smith had some tactical advice in the media for Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff.


  • The Globe and Mail examined Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff's plans to woo western Canada. SFU political scientist Patrick Smith said Ignatieff might benefit most in BC by targeting NDP ridings. “It will be a hard slog to take the Tories from where they are now.” And, he added Ignatieff could gain some Liberal support by distancing himself from the Liberal-NDP coalition.
  • Marketing prof Lindsay Meredith was in a national Canadian Press story on 2010 Olympic ticket sales—and VANOC’s efforts to limit scalping. “Legally, once I pay you money and take possession of some item . . . I have become the owner of it. What I do with that is my own power.” He added that under the Competition Act, it's illegal to try to limit the re-seller from selling a ticket at whatever he can get.
  • Meredith was also in a Globe and Mail story on how some Canadians win from the economic downturn and others lose badly. The Globe quoted Meredith as saying there’s a danger of a vicious cycle in which consumers save their cash—leading to an economic slowdown that ultimately leaves them worse off. “His message: Don't worry, be happy—and spend.”
  • Steven M. Kates, associate prof in SFU Business, wrote a guest piece in the FP Executive pages of National Post. Although a Starbucks aficionado, he noted: “I am not surprised to learn that the brand could be heading for trouble.” His advice: “Starbucks needs to emphasize that it is continually learning how to be a good corporate citizen, not simply appear as one.”
  • The Toronto Sun chain of seven daily papers carried a column decrying “the tragedy of native reserves, where too many children are growing up without the love and support necessary to nurture psychologically healthy human beings.” It quoted public policy prof John Richards: "I don't see how we can make life on reserves for most people a happy one.” For the most part, he said, the future is in the cities where the jobs are. (See also ‘Education’ below.)

  • Political scientist Eric Hershberg, director of Latin American Studies and president of the Latin American Studies Association, did a 20-minute interview—on US policy toward Latin America under Barack Obama—for the Los Angeles public radio station, KPFK. Earlier, he did the same for Argentine public radio.
  • A “Counterpoint” column in National Post challenged an earlier article by SFU business prof John Peloza. He had written that managers need metrics to gauge the success of Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. A human resources manager countered: “ . . . doing the math for CSR strategies may be the wrong way to measure their value.”
    (Closer to home, Peloza was interviewed by CBC Radio in Prince George on the fate of charitable donations during an economic slump.)
  • The Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail reported on riots in Greece, stemming from union protests seeking wage hikes and increased social spending and the shooting by police of a 15-year-old boy. Both quoted SFU prof Andre Gerolymatos, who was caught in the rioting when he arrived at his hotel:
    “There are anarchists, students, hoodlums and thieves breaking windows of stores and looting. . . The young are looking at a dismal future with a standard of living that may be lower even than their grandparents. They're unhappy and violent, and that won't end soon."
  • Peter Tingling, assistant prof in SFU Business, wrote a guest article on corporate decision-making that is to appear next week in National Post. “Most particularly among heavily regulated industries . . . decision makers have often been found to copy or mimic the decisions of others and create a herd of common choice even if the outcome is wrong. The adage that bankers make lemmings look like free thinkers has a great deal of currency in financial circles.”
    Tingling was also on the Dave Rutherford talk show on CHQR Radio, Calgary. The subject:How do companies decide who gets a pink slip?”


  • BC media were quick to cover a new report saying an economic downturn is the perfect time to tackle poverty. Political scientist Marjorie Griffin Cohen is one of seven co-authors; doctoral candidate Trish Garner of SFU Women’s Studies is another.
    The report calls on government to reduce overall poverty in BC by 30 per cent within four years. It also advocates eliminating deep poverty within two years and eliminating street homelessness within five years. The report was published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and came from the Economic Security Project, an SFU/CCPA partnership.
    Griffin Cohen and Seth Klein, BC director of the CCPA, wrote an accompanying guest column in The Vancouver Sun concluding: “A dramatic reduction in poverty and homelessness within a few short years is an achievable goal. All that is needed is the political will to act.”
  • Lindsay Meredith was on GlobalTV, talking about the recent disappearance of a marketing gimmick: the prominent posting of gasoline prices at 3.5 cents a litre more than the actual price at the pump.
  • The New Westminster NewsLeader featured “super seniors” who are taking on new challenges in post-retirement years. Among those quoted, SFU gerontologist Gloria Gutman: "As long as people are healthy there's no reason they can't do anything they've always wanted to do but never had time for before."
  • Political scientist Andrew Heard was in a story in the Maple Ridge News, challenging Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s statement that “the Opposition does not have the democratic right to impose a coalition with the separatists they promised voters would never happen." On the contrary, said Heard, the parliamentary system allows for the defeat of a minority government and replacement by a coalition of other parties. "This is the way it should work naturally."
    Meanwhile, stories from last week, quoting public policy prof Doug McArthur on the continuing federal fiasco, continued to pop up during the week in national and regional newspapers.
  • The Georgia Straight looked at what it called a “waffle” by Vancouver’s new council on whether it will seek to move to a ward system. The story quoted public policy prof Kennedy Stewart as saying U.S. courts have struck down hundreds of at-large systems. "Certain subgroups of the population find it impossible to get seats in the at-large system".


  • Randall Peterman of SFU’s School of Resource and Environmental Management had a letter to the editor in the Burnaby NewsLeader saying: “The unexpected reduction last March in promised funding to B.C.'s post-secondary institutions  . . . is now seriously reducing the quality of education. Class sizes are larger, there are fewer course offerings, and students are taking longer to finish their degrees.”
    Meanwhile, a Vancouver Sun education blog reported SFU students and faculty together sent delegates to Victoria this week to protest government funding. Student Society representatives met Advanced Education Minister Murray Coell while SFU faculty association members met a ministry official. They asked government to restore a cut of 2.6% in promised funding, and to index future funding to the rate of inflation.
  • The same blog also picked up a story from a PAMR release on howSurrey school district students and their parents will soon have access to a range of counselling services through a unique initiative involving SFU’s Faculty of Education and the Surrey school district. The Surrey-North Delta Leader and Peace Arch News ran a story.
  • Public policy prof John Richards co-authored a guest column in The Vancouver Sun saying, “Closing the gap in education levels between aboriginals and non-aboriginals is one of the great social policy challenges facing British Columbia and Canada.” The other authors were Jennifer Hove and Kemi Afolabi, who both have masters of public policy degrees from SFU.
  • Earlier, an editorial in the Calgary Herald cited “new research from Simon Fraser University showing that when a student population is predominantly aboriginal, they are less successful academically than when they're in a more diverse environment.”  (The research was by Richards.)  The Kamloops Daily News picked up the editorial.
  • The Dawson Creek Daily News reported 16 new teachers were recognized at graduation ceremonies for the Alaska Highway Consortium on Teacher Education program. It’s offered by SFU in partnership with UNBC, School Districts 59, 60, and 81, local teacher associations, and Northern Lights College.
  • The Pique magazine in Whistler picked up an SFU news release on SFU’s dual-degree partnership with Monash University in Australia.  The Pique’s angle: “Now Australians have yet another reason to come work in Whistler. They can finish their undergraduate degree in Arts and Social Sciences at Simon Fraser University.”
  • The Prince George Citizen noted four new faces at the Dec. 6 meeting of the UNBC board of governors, including governor Jack Blaney, former president of SFU. He is also chair of UNBC’s presidential search committee.
  • The Ottawa Business Journal reported Carleton’s School of Business is in talks with the journalism faculty to offer joint courses. “The move to add a business component to a mass communications-type degree is part of a general broadening of MBA programs. . . There are now even MBAs tailored for students who have little to no business experience, such as one for social science graduates at Simon Fraser University.”
  • University Affairs featured criminologist Lynne Bell’s research that proposes King Henry VIII’s favourite warship, the Mary Rose, may have sunk in 1545 because many of her crew couldn’t understand English commands. She examined bones and teeth from 18 of the ship’s 400 lost crew members and found that about 60 per cent were foreigners from "somewhere south of Britain," probably Spain.
  • University Affairs also noted the 10th year of the SFU Philosopher’s Café program founded by Yosef Wosk, then director of interdisciplinary programs in SFU Continuing Studies.  The anniversary was used as a lead-in to a story on the Canadian Academy of Independent Scholars, which promotes and supports scholars who work outside the university environment.


  • The Globe and Mail reported DNA analysis had matched a pair of the feet that have washed up on B.C. shores this year, confirming they are from the same woman. SFU forensic scientist Gail Anderson said: "It means there's not an extra person that's dead that we did not know about. It means we have been able to link one body together." But, she added: “This person has not yet, unfortunately, been identified by DNA.”
    The Seattle Weekly did a big story on the Floating Feet. While it didn’t mention the forensic work of Anderson and others at SFU, it did note: “B.C.'s missing-person count is the highest of any Canadian province, according to a 2005 Simon Fraser University study, and many are thought to have drowned from accidents or suicides in B.C.'s vast waters.”
  • The Penticton Herald reported more than 30 headstones and grave markers at Lakeview Cemetery were vandalized. The paper quoted Rob Gordon, director of criminology, who said there was no indication that the work is "patently" that of a cult group, so it was likely “teenagers, to put it mildly, grossing out the community." Even so, “It's not normal for adolescents who are bucking authority to go and desecrate cemeteries."
  • Vern May, assistant director of SFU Campus Security, wrote an article in the Campus Law Enforcement Journal. “Continued success in assuring personal safety and effective asset management requires an active buy-in from the community as a whole. At SFU, we have found that extending a hand to demonstrate our interest in individual well-being and support for ongoing personal development helps to generate this interest.”


  • The Vancouver Sun reviewed Leaves from the Pie Tree, a limited-edition autobiography of Jim Rimmer, artist and digital type designer. (He designed the letters SFU in the university’s logo.) The Sun noted that Eric Swanick, head of Special Collections at the SFU Library, contributed a special bibliography of Rimmer’s noteworthy printing.  The story also ran in the Financial Post webpages of National Post.
  • The Bookshelf pages of reviewed Undercurrents: Queer Culture and Postcolonial Hong Kong, by Helen Hok-sze Leung, assistant professor in SFU Women's Studies. “She is particularly good on the way Hong Kong cinema has treated the lives of the sexually diverse. . . . She writes insightfully and with verve of the local cultural scene, both pre- and post-handover.”
  • Being scheduled for January: the next public performances of the concert "Five Songs For BC 150". One of the five is Hammer, by David MacIntyre of SFU Contemporary Arts, with text by Kootenay poet Tom Wayman. The program was featured in The Vancouver Sun Nov. 22 and played in Vancouver and Victoria.


  • SFU Athletics told media how prospect Marni McMillan of Port Moody has committed to the Clan women’s soccer program for the 2009 season. The senior at Heritage Woods High School was a member of the Under-16 Girls Provincial Team in 2007.
  • The Province featured Clan basketball star Kate Hole, who has been plagued by back pain for almost a year. "I have had every X-ray, scan and physio treatment you can get. I have had MRIs, acupuncture, chiropractic work. I have been on muscle relaxants and almost every anti-inflammatory you can name. I have done everything. . . . In all likelihood, I am going to be dealing with this for the rest of my life."
  • The Globe and Mail covered the return visit to Hazelton BC of Olympic wrestling gold medallist Carol Huynh. The story noted the demise of the Hazelton high school wrestling program in which she starred. Among those quoted who went through the program was Lindsay Belisle, now a coach at SFU.


  • Xtra West, Canada’s queer news outlet, carried a story from The Canadian Press on how health sciences professor Robert Hogg will head Canada’s first nation-wide HIV/AIDS antiretroviral research network. The Canadian Observational Cohort (CANOC) will study the effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS treatment.
  • Scripps News Service in the U.S. picked upa Globe and Mail story from last week on how SFU’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team unveiled a report saying BC is the last refuge for a growing number of species in North America. But, it added, if the "biodiversity ark" is to be maintained in the face of global warming, governments will have to change the way they manage the environment.
  • The Afghan Conflict Monitor (an initiative of SFU’s Human Security Report Project at the School for International Studies) continues to be referred to in world media. So does the project’s Human Security Brief 2007. Items spotted were in The Economist, Austria’s Österreichischer Rundfunk broadcast network, the ‘Danger Room’ Blog,          Newsmax (a media organization in the U.S.), the Heritage Foundation’s ‘National Security’ Blog, and the Avuncular American blog from a former U.S. diplomat.

ALSO in the NEWS

  • The Winnipeg Free Press headlined a story: “Growing new ideas good for farming”. It included this: “A 2006 research paper by Simon Fraser University bee researcher Mark Winston found it pays for farmers to leave up to 30 per cent of their canola fields in natural vegetation as a refuge for wild bees. Attracting pollinators to the crop, which increased yield, offset the decline in production base.” The Brandon Sun also ran the story.
  • Business prof emeritus Gary Mauser wrote a letter in The Vancouver Sun: “The Liberal party does not appear to be committed to democracy. It has no more respect for its members than it does for any other Canadians. The Liberals are just as comfortable with having insiders choose their leader as they were with forming a backroom coalition to install Stéphane Dion as prime minister without going to an election.”
  • The Province featured investment strategist Bob Thompson and his new book Stock Market Superstars: Secrets of Canada's Top Stock Pickers. The paper noted he earned a degree in kinesiology from SFU.



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