SIUC behaving immorally; sweeping investigation under the rug

By Gus Bode

Dear Editor,

Southern Illinois University Carbondale has a proud history of leadership in areas of social justice, including support for women’s rights (Anthony Hall is named after Susan B. Anthony), African-American students, international students and for students with wide-ranging disabilities. That is why I am so appalled at recent events and attitudes supported through inaction by SIUC’s top leadership and felt compelled to write this letter.

When Athletic Director Mario Moccia can find no other way to communicate with his staff than through pervasive use of the ‘F bomb’ and openly questions whether or not a female coach, Samantha Sambursky, can handle the head coaching position because she has a child, I would strongly argue that is harassment and a hostile work environment. Where is the same standard for male coaches with children?


So a complaint is filed and SIUC follows its typical pattern of denial, stonewalling and making a farce of fact-finding. The ‘impartial investigator’ put Sambursky on trial by asking staffers if she had a vendetta against Mario. Why didn’t the investigator objectively inquire of the working conditions and treatment of females and investigate the complaint’s core issues? This investigation would have had a viable start if Mario and Samantha had each submitted to a polygraph.

Instead, SIUC had to spend $12,000 to cover up and sweep the issue under the rug. I also question why the full report has not been released to Ms. Rhode. What is SIUC concealing?

When two life-long dedicated Salukis such as Charlotte West and Diane Dougherty, who bleed maroon, take such strong stands there is reason for their anger and disgust. There is reason to get to the real truth. I fully support their continuing efforts to expose that truth through ongoing legal action.

In addition, Kerry Blaylock’s rose-colored glasses’ assessment appears ridiculous. Even if she never personally experienced similar treatment in her years at SIUC, she must be aware of mistreatment received by her fellow coaches. I hope her selling out to save her job or to get the new assistant athletic director position was worth it. I say shame on you.

I personally know both Joel Sambursky, one of SIUC’s finest former athletes, and his wife. Anyone who knows them knows they are honorable and straight forward people who are truthful and have the highest integrity. For them to take such a strong stand, to expose themselves to public scrutiny, to forfeit Sam’s promising career at SIUC is because they are honorable, the facts they state are true and neither are willing to allow this type of abuse and mistreatment to continue unchallenged.

Because of the treatment she and her fellow coaches routinely experienced, Samantha Sambursky, took the high road and, as a finalist for the position of head golf coach, withdrew her application.

It deeply troubles and saddens me that SIUC would rather lose a quality person and coach such as Samantha Sambursky, who is loved by her players, than deal with and take actions to correct the hostile work environment within the Athletic Department.


Jim Manis

SIU alumnus