College district board’s instructions to administration ignored, refuses to vote on gym contract

Canada College students and faculty fear that the proposed Kinesiology and Wellness building, shown here, will become a private athletic club.
Canada College students and faculty fear that the proposed Kinesiology and Wellness building, shown here, will become a private athletic club.

Daily Post Staff Writer

The San Mateo County Community College District Board refused to vote on a new contract with the contractor that runs the gym at the College of San Mateo, with some board members saying they were frustrated that the administration did not do what it was told to do three months ago.

On March 11, board members told district administrators that they wanted a third-party to conduct an analysis of the district’s partnership with contractor EXOS and see if the gym could be run differently, or if EXOS is the best contractor for the job.

But despite those instructions, Vice Chancellor Tom Bauer came back to the board on Thursday with a one-year extension of the EXOS contract and no third-party analysis.

Bauer told the board that he had called some other gym operators and they said they weren’t interested in bidding for any new contracts because the fitness and gym industry is suffering greatly under the COVID-19 shutdown.

Board members Richard Holober and Maurice Goodman both asked why the third-party study wasn’t done, and why the new contract expanded EXOS role to running the gym that’s under construction at Canada College.

Bauer said last night that the board didn’t tell him that EXOS couldn’t run Canada’s gym, so he expanded the contract.

However, at the November meeting, the board had made it clear that it had not decided whether EXOS would run the Canada gym.

Ultimately, the board told Chancellor Mike Claire to bring back a short-term memorandum of understanding with EXOS that the board will vote on at its June 24 meeting so the gym and pool can have an operator once they reopen from the pandemic.


  1. Here we go again! I have been telling the SMCCCD Board of Trustees that staff, including the former chancellor, were not providing objective, data-informed, evidence-based reports to them. While the case here involves the continued controversy about use of taxpayer funded bond money to construct and run a private membership athletic club on college property managed by a for-profit corporation (sign in the locker rooms excludes student from use of the facility), as an academic I have been concerned with reports provided the Board on student achievement, equity and benchmarked metrics. The data tables provided by staff are obtuse, trend analysis is not reported, data visualization to help Trustees interpret complex quantitative relationships is lacking, leading to Trustees being misled as to SMCCCD’s success in promoting student success. An 18% completion rate in three years for a two-year program means that 82% of the students are not getting done on time. Why is that? What happens to them?

    Perhaps the Board will now become more skeptical about the accuracy, validity and veracity of reports it receives from staff, rather than take them at face value.

    Michael B. Reiner, PhD, is a higher education consultant and educational researcher. Previously, he was a professor of psychology and college administrator at City University of New York (CUNY), Miami Dade College, the Riverside Community College District, and SMCCCD. He can be reached at [email protected]

  2. Wow. I think Mr. Bauer should be investigated for willfully disregarding his employers orders and perhaps having a cozy relationship with a contractor.

  3. Sounds like Bauer thinks Board orders are optional for him. Maybe he still takes orders from Galatolo…who is STILL on the payroll.

  4. It seems like Bauer is not the only Administrator who thinks orders do not apply. This Board or at least three of them are finally stepping up and speaking up.

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