October 7, 2004

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APSA ratifies new contract
Members of the administrative and professional staff association (APSA) have ratified a new two-year agreement by a vote of 246 to 42. A total of 565 members were eligible to vote. The agreement provides no wage increase. It provides an option for re-opening negotiations should the government change its edict of no wage increases in the public sector before the next election in May. As part of the new agreement, APSA and the university agreed to work toward developing a goal-sharing plan. If a plan were established that resulted in cost savings to the university, APSA members would share in the cost savings. The university and APSA also agreed to a joint compensation review. This could result in APSA members receiving a benefit package more tailored to their specific needs, as long as it entailed no additional cost to the university. The pact includes corrective eye surgery coverage under the vision care provision in the extended health plan and establishes a committee to develop recommendations on a deferred salary plan.

Conference set for Harbour Centre
An international conference at Harbour Centre on Oct. 15 and 16 will address issues of political violence, religion, human rights and peacemaking in ethnic conflicts. Negotiating Compromises in Divided Societies: Lessons from South Africa for Israel/Palestine is sponsored by SFU graduate liberal studies and the Koerner foundation. The conference has three interrelated goals: to improve understanding of the reasons for failed conflict resolution in Israel/Palestine by contrasting it with successful peacemaking in South Africa; to challenge false analogies between the two disparate situations; and to draw specific lessons from the South African experience for alternatives in the Middle East. Organizer and sociology professor Heribert Adam notes that new insights and fresh policy approaches seem a pressing issue, both for academic comparative politics and policy practice.

Wilson wins chemistry award
Chemistry professor Peter Wilson is the recipient of the 2004 AstraZeneca Canada award in chemistry for his outstanding contributions to the field of synthetic organic chemistry. The award recognizes the work that Wilson's research group has undertaken at SFU to synthesize complex natural products that have potent anti-inflammatory, anti-HIV and neuroprotective properties. His research efforts concern the invention of new and efficient synthetic methods for drug discovery and development in the pharmaceutical industry. The two-year award is valued at $50,000 per year.

Golden Key honoured
Students in SFU's chapter of the Golden Key international honour society won several prestigious international awards and scholarships at the Golden Key international conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The key chapter award recognized the chapter's outstanding teamwork, dedication and collaboration with other student organizations on campus and its combination of service, academic, social and fundraising activities throughout the year.

The chapter also won an honourable mention award for best web page. The award recognizes a chapter website with superior content, organization and overall appearance. Gurbir Dhadwal, who graduated in June with the Governor General's silver medal, received a $10,000 U.S. scholarship to support graduate study at an accredited university anywhere in the world. Recent grad Golden Key honoured Elizabeth Knudson won the $1,000 U.S. golden key performing arts-musical composition award for a full orchestral composition which was selected for reading by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in February 2004.

SFU receives bronze bust
Simon Fraser University is the third university worldwide to receive a bronze bust of Indian human rights champion Bheemrao Ramji Ambedkar, known as the Jewel of India. The Dr. Ambedkar memorial society of Bedford, based in the United Kingdom, is donating the bust, which was created by B.K. Guru, a prominent Indian sculptor. The bust will be publicly unveiled at SFU's Bennett library at 2:30 p.m., on Oct. 14. A representative from the Ambedkar society, Jai Birdi, president of the Chetna Association of Canada (local chapter of the Ambedkar association) and Donald Grayston, former director of SFU's institute for the humanities will perform the unveiling. Garlanding, a lecture and discussion will follow the event.

Ambedkar (1891-1956) was the architect of independent India's constitution, a champion for human and civil rights, a renowned scholar, and the restorer of Buddhism in India. Born a member of the Dalit (formerly untouchable) community, Ambedkar overcame prejudice and systemic barriers to obtain a doctorate, and eventually an honorary doctorate for his accomplishments as a social reformer. The Ambedkar association is a consciousness-raising organization for the Dalit community.

Laba rages on Global
Communication professor Martin Laba will appear on Rage, a Global television documentary airing on Oct. 9 at 8 p.m. Rage explores the underlying reality of so-called road rage, work rage and sports rage, a phenomenon now widely feared as evidence of the decline of civilization.

New seminar group launched
A new seminar group is starting at SFU for faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and undergraduates interested in learning about their colleagues' research and ideas on gender/sex from an interdisciplinary perspective. The group is intended to be welcoming, engaging, critical and pedagogical. Organizer Sari van Anders is looking for speakers. Please contact her as for more information or to submit a presentation topic.

SFU film takes top honours
Eastbound, selected as best overall film in the 35th Canadian student film festival, is the work of Rita Tse, who graduated with a bachelor of fine arts from the school for the contemporary arts last June. The 15-minute film examines the cultural expectations for women in Chinese society. “It's based on my experiences and those of my friends,” says Tse of the film which won the festival's top award, the Norman McLaren award. Now at home in Hong Kong, Tse says she was surprised to win since there were only two films in the festival directed by Chinese students. She has also entered the film in the Vancouver Asian film festival in November.

Lysenko takes international scholarship
Natalia Lysenko, a student in the actuarial science honours program, is one of just four students worldwide to receive a prestigious John Culver Wooddy scholarship from the Actuarial Foundation. The U.S.$2,000 scholarship recognizes top senior actuarial students who have completed at least one professional examination and who are recommended by their school. They must also demonstrate leadership potential through extra-curricular activities. Lysenko moved to Vancouver three years ago from her native Russia, where she was a competitive gymnast.

Since arriving in Vancouver, Lysenko has embraced competitive ballroom dancing, winning many competitions. She is also a gymnastics coach. At SFU she has worked as a teaching assistant and marker for both third-year and fourth-year actuarial mathematics courses. She is also president of the statistics and actuarial science students' association. Lysenko is the first SFU student to receive the Wooddy scholarship.

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