Second student gets tuition refund from alternative college
Published Monday, October 4, 2010 8:25PM PDT
Another student has had her tuition refunded after attending a Burnaby alternative medicine college that offered students licences that didn't legally allow them to practice acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine.
Skyler Warren will receive $3800 from the Shang Hai College, which granted alternative medicine licenses to at least 17 graduates, including a "natural health doctor" who claimed she could cure cancer.
"There were too many question marks," Warren told CTV News. She said she quit the college in 2009 when she started to have doubts about the school.
"And at nearly $4000 a semester, it's too much for too many question marks. I decided it wasn't where I wanted to go," she said.
Warren is one of two students so far who have received money back from the Shang Hai College, on Nelson Street and Kingsway in Burnaby.
The other is Stephen Harvey, who spent six years as a student, and who says he paid $51,000 in tuition and another $20,000 in textbooks and other materials.
The College also granted Kerrisdale-based Grace Tseng a "Natural Health Doctor" licence -- something that sounds like regulated alternative medicine practices in this province, but has no legal weight.
Tseng was the doctor who offered a cancer patient a cancer cure: herbal pills for up to $2000 a month.
The licence itself appeared to be from an Ottawa-based "Council of Natural Medicine College of Canada," but its Ottawa address was a mail drop.
The principal of both the CNMCC and the Shang Hai College was the same man: Dr. Sky Willow, according to court documents.
Both Harvey and Warren complained to the Private Career Training Institution of B.C., which is the province's private college watchdog. In mid-September, the board decided that both students had been "misled."
"Ms. Warren was misled by Shang Hai College when it told her that she, by successfully writing the CNMCC examinations, would qualify for a federal licence with the CNMCC, which would entitle her to practice acupuncture and TCM, not only in British Columbia, but anywhere in Canada," the board wrote in response to the complaints.
Warren says she's happy about the decision to refund her tuition. But she says she wishes that there was better oversight over the colleges.
"Traditional Chinese medicine is a respected and well-regulated profession," Warren said.
"And they (the Shang Hai College) exploited what TCM is all about. They are the reason, these little schools that pop up everywhere, are the reason that TCM and acupuncture are still in the shadows of Western medicine," she said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jon Woodward and Mi-Jung Lee