Last Sunday’s episode of 60 Minutes caused a small stir on campus this week. Each year during Orientation, first-years get a chance to bond over a book sent to them over the summer. Three years ago, the incoming class received paperback copies of the New York Times best seller Three Cups Of Tea. Greg Mortenson, the mountain-climber-turned-humanitarian author is currently being questioned concerning the truth and accuracy of his book that chronicled his attempts to educate young women in the Middle East.
“It’s sad, because I really do want to believe him,” third-year Nicholas Manting-Brewer said. “But I think there are too many qualifications in his responses.”
Mortenson’s tale—being nursed to health by sherpas and an alleged abuduction by the Taliban while building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan— has come under a barrage of questions, and several groups are now questioning the way money has been managed in his non-profit organization, the Central Asian Institute. CBS News states that Mortenson may owe “as much as $23 million in back taxes and penalties.” While New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof recommends giving Mortenson the benefit of the doubt until more information is available.
Still, third-years that bonded over Three Cups Of Tea express their disappointment. “At the very least he has mislead people,” said Manting-Brewer.