SFU People in the News

July 10, 2012

Media Matters, a report on Simon Fraser University in the news, is compiled and distributed by SFU Public Affairs & Media Relations (PAMR).
This edition is a daily roundup that lists the main items of known media coverage from 8:30 a.m. Monday July 9 to 8:30 a.m. Tuesday July 10.

Affordable housing | Resesarch awards | Planetary collapse | Also in the News


  • United Nations housing expert Miloon Kothari spoke last night at SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts about the city’s—and country’s—housing crisis.
    In an interview with The Tyee, Kothari says of the Downtown Eastside, "The crisis has not improved.
    "Vancouver faces an affordability crisis,” he continues. “The homeless crisis is there for everyone to see and the process of gentrification seems to have rapidly increased, as has the speculation of housing. I understand there has been a task force set up to look at affordability, but they're not dealing with affordability for people below a certain income, so I don't see much change for the better.”
    Full story:
  • The Link (An Indo-Canadian newspaper, not to be confused with BCIT’s student paper) also previewed Kothari’s talk.
    “Presented by SFU Public Square, in partnership with SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement, Kothari’s lecture on July 9, will trace the evolution of the Right to Adequate Housing since the early 1990’s, concentrating on the work done by civil society campaigns and movements around the world, and their influence on the interpretation of this critical human right for UN human rights bodies,” the article says.
    “The Right to Adequate Housing: A Talk by Miloon Kothari, is a follow up to SFU Vancouver’s sold-out presentation of Gwynne Dyer: The New Middle East.”
    Full story:
  • Kothari also appeared on CBC’s The Early Edition on Monday to discuss some of the topics of his later presentation, which as host Chris Brown notes, was at SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts at 7 p.m.
    “There needs to be much more serious attempt and specific strategies adopted on housing and homelessness in Vancouver, by the city and the province,” he says.
    “There’s a need for a national housing strategy, and given the scale of the housing crisis in Canada, I didn’t really understand why Canada had stopped large-scale building of social housing.
    “It appears not much has changed; there’s still a large housing affordability crisis, homelessness is still quite high,” he continues. “Every time I come here, I hear of new task forces being set up, but on the ground the problem doesn’t change.”
    Full interview (Kothari appears at the 1:51.00 mark):


  • As reported by Canada Newswire, three SFU researchers were honoured by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR). The MSFHR’s primary mandate is to strengthen health research in BC. Every year, it awards the projects that best fit its mandate. Of 2012’s 23 award winners, only four had their projects highlighted. SFU researchers Zabrina Brumme, Carlo Menon, and Scott Venners made up three of the four.
    “Dr. Brumme will lead the first large-scale investigation of HIV's adaptation to the body's immune response. By analyzing HIV and host genetic sequences from 1979 to the present, her research team will characterize HIV evolution over the epidemic's course. The results of this study will reveal the effect of human immune pressure on HIV replication and viral protein function, with the potential to advance HIV vaccine research significantly,” the article explains.
    “Dr. Menon is leading the design of a robotic device to assist individuals with weakened upper extremities due to aging, stroke, injury, or other diseases. The portable and wearable device will assist with functional movements and strengthen the muscular tone of injured extremities. This research will improve the quality of life for individuals with neuromuscular disorders by restoring mobility of the upper extremities, which is critical for activities of daily living, such as eating and dressing.”
    Meanwhile, “Dr. Venners is studying the impact of exposures to environmental pollutants and their links to health inequalities between richer and poorer people, specifically small size at birth and diabetes in adulthood.  For example, babies born to mothers in poorer parts of Vancouver are more likely to be born under-sized than those born in other parts of the city, and higher levels of exposure to second-hand smoke and other pollutants may be a factor. The project will also study the links between socioeconomic status, exposure to pollutants in adulthood, and inequalities in diabetes risk between richer and poorer Canadians,” the article says.
    Full story:


  • In an opinions piece for the Pacific Free Press, one author quotes SFU biodiversity professor Arne Mooersabout the “challenges of living in a dead world.”
    “Our world is not broken, it is dead. We are alive, if we chose to be, but the hierarchical systems of exploitation that structure the world in which we live . . . all are dead,” the article says.
    Mooers co-authored of a study saying that the next impending global state change will be extremely disruptive to our civilization. He says, “In a nutshell, humans have not done anything really important to stave off the worst because the social structures for doing something just aren’t there.
    “My colleagues who study climate-induced changes through the Earth’s history are more than pretty worried. In fact, some are terrified.”
    Full story:
    SFU news release (on study co-authored by Mooers):

Also in the news


  • Recent SFU graduate Richard Loat was on Global Montreal discussing his charity, Five Hole for Food, as it set up shop in Montreal.
    “The food banks suffer the most in the summer,” says Loat. “There’s this misconception that hunger’s a seasonal problem. Summer’s the toughest when people are out of town and donations are low.
    “It just made sense for me looking at the need in Vancouver and also in the other cities we visit that the food bank was the natural choice [for the charity].”
    Full video:



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