Simon Fraser University


SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - March 21, 2011

March 21, 2011

Media Matters, a report on Simon Fraser University in the news, is compiled and distributed by SFU Public Affairs & Media Relations. This edition lists the main items of known media coverage from 9 a.m. Pacific Friday March 18 to 9 a.m. Pacific Monday March 21.


  • André Gerolymatos, historian and international security commentator, did a hefty series of interviews as Canada sent six F-18 aircraft to join the implementation of a UN-ordered no-fly zone over Libya.
    On CBC Radio, he said of the UN Security Council decision:
    “It’s a rare occurrence because it means that all the members of the Security Council have to agree. It has to be a unanimous vote, and so it doesn’t happen very frequently. Korea was one such example (1950) and also . . . the first Persian Gulf War (1990) was the second example. Normally it’s brought forward by a member of the Security Council, in this case the United States and the other members vote to do it. Two members of the Security Council, France and Russia, were terrified of the notion of a precedent for foreign intervention in a domestic affair. In the case of Russia it’s Chechnya; in the case of China there are several provinces that oppose the government, so they’re looking down the road that if this can be done to Libya, maybe it can be done to them in the future.”
    Would a no-fly zone have much impact?
    “Under these circumstances, because in addition to the no-fly zone, NATO has been authorized to also attack ground forces, it would play a significant role, seeing that the opposition were being destroyed by Khadafi’s forces. They (NATO) will be able to attack tanks, or even ground troops. . . . strafing ground troops, destroying any military targets. It gives them a great deal of latitude to operate over Libya.”
    What of dictator Muammar Khadafi’s promise of a cease-fire?
    “I think he was hoping that Japan would push Libya off the news items and give him a free hand to assault the rebels. The man is a lunatic, and I think he announced the cease-fire in some vain hope that it would somehow prevent NATO from patrolling the airspace over Libya. His forces are continuing to attack the opposition, so I wouldn’t trust anything Khadafi would do at this point. Khadafi’s not going to give up until Khadafi’s dead.”

  • Gerolymatos then did a follow-up interview on CKNW, saying of the air strikes:
    “They have prevented Khadafi’s forces from taking Benghazi, and that would have been a bloodbath. And so in that respect it has been a very great success.
    “The UN Security Council authorized (a) a no-fly zone, and (b) authorized the use of warplanes to interdict targets on the ground. So that’s a kind of very expanded mandate for a no-fly zone. And it’s a moot point also whether they can use ground troops. It said that there would be no occupation force, and the Americans have said that they’re not going to use ground troops. At the end of the day, if you look at the over-all picture, what are they going to do? They cannot just keep a no-fly zone for ever. . . .  So I think what they’re hoping is that somehow the rebels, with enough air support, will eventually topple Khadafi.”
    “I would not be surprised if either Egypt or some other government have been giving them weapons and also people to train them in how to use those weapons. So the situation has gotten better with complete air superiority, plus the ability to use allied warplanes to take out tanks, armoured personnel carriers, artillery, things like that. That’s a great advantage, so it might just happen.
    “But it’s a very delicate situation because now the Arab League is having cold feet about it. They might turn around and say they oppose the no-fly zone. It could get very complicated in the next couple of days.”

  • That was Gerolymatos’ second weekend interview on CKNW. Earlier, he also did interviews on GlobalTV, CBC, and News1130.

  • And he wrote a guest column in The Vancouver Sun:
    “(A) propensity for supporting authoritarian regimes has characterized American policy in the region, as evidenced by dictatorships and absolute monarchies in Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Libya. This policy sent a clear message to the people of the region that Americans feared democracy in the Middle East. . . .
    “Any American military intervention will be viewed with great suspicion, perhaps not by the embattled opposition in Libya, but certainly by the rest of the Muslim world. Under these circumstances, the U.S. and the West must work through Arab and Muslim institutions, such as the Arab League, to help the opposition in the region. Certainly, the UN Security Council has finally agreed to a no-fly zone, but it may be too late to save the beleaguered Libyan opposition.”
    Full column:

  • Meanwhile, on the news-and-commentary website of, public policy prof Doug McArthur echoed international skepticism about Khadafi’s so-called ceasefire. “Libya's ceasefire might indicate that Khadafi realizes he might have to find a way out, but I don't really believe him.”
    As for the no-fly zone: “The hope is that the international community can strengthen the rebels. If they stop his air force from supporting his attacks, that will be helpful, but it’s really on the ground where that’s going to be decided. Right now, the rebels are at a disadvantage because as much as Khadafi is a rogue, he’s got a military that will do the job for him, and the rebels don’t have their kind of armaments.” 
    Full story:


  • Gerolymatos was also on CHEK-TV, Victoria, saying: “It is only a matter of time before there are many dramatic changes affecting the Middle East. The difficulty for the leadership is how rapidly can they adapt to these changes before they turn into revolution.”
    He continued: “People want more and more, and these monarchies, dictatorships, have to be prepared to give that extra. We will see what is going to happen in Egypt in the future, for example. The military is running the show but are they going to make enough liberal concessions to pacify that body of young people who believe they are on the road to democracy; but so far it has not happened.
    “Contributing factors to all of this unrest are the rising cost of food—and young people, period. A lot of these young people are pretty well educated and unfortunately a high percentage of them are unemployed. And the way the economies are in these countries, they never will be employed. So they recognize that and realize the only way anything is going to change is that they take matters into their own hands.”


  • Nathaniel Payne, researcher and TA in the SFU Beedie School of Business, was on CBC Radio’s national news, on how some companies (such as Coquitlam Centre) have tried to raise relief funds for Japan by saying they'll donate a certain amount if they get a certain number of followers or likes on Twitter and Facebook.
    Payne’s message: ““From an outsider’s perspective, it appears that Coquitlam Centre's marketing team made a shortsighted decision. . . . Campaigns that use tragic causes such as the Japanese earthquake as leverage for their own promotions . . . are likely to be viewed with a high amount of skepticism even if the campaign managers’ intentions were positive.”

  • Earth scientist John Clague was in a CTV News story that looked back to a huge earthquake that hit the West Coast in 1700.
    “When the Japanese earthquake hit last week, B.C. was spared any damage from the tsunami. But the quake of 1700 was a different story; it caused five-metre-high waves all the way on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. ‘We know this because the Japanese have meticulous records of damage from that earthquake,’ said John Clague, geologist at Simon Fraser University.”
    Full story:

  • Clague was also on CBC News in a story on earthquake hazards in the Lower Mainland. He spoke of the 74-year-old Pattullo Bridge, which has never had seismic upgrades from its previous owner, the province, or from TransLink, owner and operator for the past 12 years.
    Clague said the decision on fixing or replacing it can't be put off any longer. “I think we desperately need to look at that particular bridge to see whether it can withstand strong shaking. It's an important piece of our infrastructure."


  • SFU avalanche expert Pascal Haegeli was in a Vancouver Sun story on a new study showing heavier coastal snow, more traumatic injuries and the limited medical expertise of rescuers put Canadian avalanche victims at greater risk of dying faster than in Switzerland.
    Haegeli, adjunct prof in SFU Resource and Environmental Management, was the lead researcher in the study released by the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
    Said the Sun: “The Canadian data ‘showed a quicker drop at the early stages of burial and poorer survival associated with prolonged burial,’ writes the study’s principal investigator. ‘In other words, it’s not a good idea to get buried in Canada; however Canadians are much faster at finding their buried companions than the Swiss,’ Haegeli said.
    Full story:


  • Peter Chow-White, assistant prof in SFU Communication, was on CKNW, talking about the New York Times move to charge non-subscribers for access to the paper’s full online content.
    “This isn’t the first time they (the Times) have done it. They tried it for the first time over a year ago, and it was a failed attempt. So they seem to have spent another $40 million in the interim to try and figure out if the new model is going to work or not. It failed because people were just not interested in paying for the content. . . . The way they’ve revamped it this time is you’re not so much paying for content, you’re paying for direct access to the content.
    “For the first 20 times you click on content you won’t notice anything. But if you click No.21 in a month, it’s going to send you to a paywall; it’s going to want you to pay for articles after that.”


  • The Vancouver Sun, Burnaby Now and 24Hours became the latest media outlets to feature plans by a group of SFU students to launch a business that will use cargo tricycles to deliver goods around Vancouver’s downtown core.
    Burnaby Now: “The small business co-op is the brainchild of Graham Anderson and four other students studying sustainability. Anderson is in the sustainable community development program at Simon Fraser University. ‘We wanted to explore ways to support the business community while reducing its environmental impact.’”
    The Vancouver Sun:  (Also in the Victoria Times Colonist)
    Burnaby Now:
    24 Hours:
    SFU news release:

  • Students Heather Palis (SFU Communication) and Andreas Pilarinos (SFU Health Sciences) wrote a column on calling for speedy passage in the senate of Bill C-393, which would help make “affordable life-saving drugs accessible to people in developing countries.”
    Full column:


  • The Economist told readers how SFU’s Beedie School of Business is launching a new Master of Business Administration program for international executives, with Vanderbilt University of Nashville TN, Brazil's FIA Business School, and ITAM in Mexico. “Students on the two-year programme will split their time between the four countries.”
    SFU news release:

  • Georgia Straight wrote about how Selma Wassermann, prof emerita in SFU Education, is behind the development of My Word! Reader, a line of applications in the works for Apple’s iPad tablet. My Word! Readerstarts with a story.
    “It helps because besides the story it has what I call word games. It has six word games. Each of the word games dwells on a particular area of phonics, word analysis, comprehension, sight recognition. In other words, all of the literacy skills—writing skills as well—are combined to be practised in those word games. And the words in the word games come from the story.”
    Full story:


  • SFU prof Mark Winston and his past research on bees were featured on The Nature of Things show on CBC-TV.
    Host David Suzuki: “Winston has done as much as anyone to unlock the secrets of bee behaviour. Today he's going to demonstrate the power of the bees' chemical communication by isolating a queen bee from the rest of her hive.”
    Winston: “So we're just going to dump 10,000 or 15,000 bees on the ground here. Isn't this fabulous? You're standing in this cloud of bees and they're totally uninterested in us. All they want to do is find their queen.  . . . So how do they know that? Smell. That's how powerful these (pheromone) chemicals are. I feel like the pied piper of bees.”
    He added: “If you pull bees out of nature, I don't think human society could exist. At least a third of our food is dependent on bees for pollination. So right away we'd have a third less food.”

  • The North Shore News featured Clint Landrock of North Vancouver, who as a grad student at SFU developed (with SFU Engineering Science prof Bozena Kaminska) “a security feature for bank notes that's so advanced it may one day make counterfeiting impossible.”
    The story added: “Landrock and Kaminska pitched their idea to Doug Blakeway, an entrepreneur in residence for SFU Venture Connections, a university business mentorship program. Blakeway was so intrigued by the technology's potential for commercial success that he invested in it and formed Nanotech Security Corp., a publicly traded company that has licensed the technology and is working to bring it to the marketplace.”
    Full story:
    SFU news release (Jan. 17):


  • Political scientist Marjorie Griffin Cohen was on CKNW, talking about the BC government’s plan to phase in an increase in the minimum wage. She lauded it as affecting more than 13% of the labour force who were earning less than $10 per hour, and noted that by next May, the lowest wage for those getting the minimum wage will increase by 28%.
    Cohen said that while there’s been expressed concern about the impact on employment, other economic factors have a bigger impact on hiring decisions. “And some wealthy companies, like McDonald’s, routinely start workers at $6.75 an hour. They can afford to pay more, and will not be laying off workers.”

  • The Moncton Times & Transcript, in a series on the public service in New Brunswick, quoted economist Herb Grubel, prof emeritus, on the level of salaries, wages and benefits in the public sector. Grubel said those levels, compared with the private sector, are “outrageous.”
    "Unions and their members simply and understandably have been taking advantage of the opportunities offered them by the politicians. They have taken their opportunity, their right given to them to strike, and have run with it while the politicians have not been willing to oppose their demands because, to them, the political costs are not worth it."
    Full story:

  • The Hill Times in Ottawa ran a story saying Opposition parties run the most risk of losing seats in the next election in the 17 ridings named so far where incumbent MPs are not running again. One of the seats: Burnaby-Douglas, where public policy prof Kennedy Stewart is the NDP candidate. But Hill Times quoted a Conservative strategist as saying the NDP "likely have the inside track."
    Full story:

  • On the news-and-commentary website of, Donald Gutstein, adjunct prof in SFU Communication, ripped the Macdonald Laurier Institute’s support of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s tough-on-crime agenda.
    “With his tough-on-crime agenda, Harper is playing to the social conservatives in his coalition, and the Macdonald Laurier Institute is there to help. It is chaired by Rob Wildeboer, a wealthy evangelical Christian who is chief backer of the ECP Centre, which attacks human rights commissions as instruments of Christian persecution.”
    Full column:


  • SFU Athletics sent sports media with the details as the Clan softball team split a March 20 doubleheader with the Montana State University (Billings) Yellowjackets, in Billings MT. The Clan lost the first game 13-5, but salvaged the second 7-6 in an extra innings.
    The Clan thus moved to 4-6 (4-6 GNAC) on the season. MSU Billings now is 9-12 (7-9 GNAC).
    SFU news release:
    In a March 19 doubleheader, the Clan lost both games to the Yellowjackets, 8-6 and 10-1.
    SFU release:

  • The New Westminster Record reported on the SFU Lacrosse Club: “Simon Fraser University gave No. 3-ranked Colorado State a scare before falling 13-11. . . . In a rematch of last season's Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association quarter-final, freshman attack Cory Koesdibyo scored a career-high seven points, including four goals, to lead the Clan club team.”
    Full story:

  • And Burnaby Now looked ahead to this week’s B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League playoffs in Burnaby.
    “Simon Fraser University is hoping to be the not-too-congenial host. . . . The defending B.C. champion Clan club team has won two of the last three championship titles, but a third is no sure thing, said SFU head coach Mark Coletta.
    “‘Both Okanagan College and Thompson Rivers University are definitely quality hockey teams and well coached,’ said Coletta. TRU finished in first place in the regular season, edging SFU by a single point, with a 19-4-1 record.”
    Full story:

  • The Province reported the death, at 36, of Surrey wrestler Randeep Sodhi, a two-time national champion. The paper noted: “Athletes from Simon Fraser University's Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club visited Sodhi's family over the weekend to pay their respects.”
    Full story:


Twitter? Facebook? YouTube? Flickr?
Follow us via