Associated Students Inc. Children’s Center to install security cameras

Cesar Alexander

One of Associated Students Inc. strategic priorities for 2013-14 is to install a video surveillance system at its Children’s Center.

Children’s Center Director Denise Wessels met with ASI Director of Finance Mark Montalvo, campus police, Information Technology and project contractors Thursday to discuss the time frame for the project.

Originally the group hoped to start the project in November, but due to parking, delivery services, traffic and safety issues, installation is scheduled to take place during winter break.

ASI made first contact with Wessels and asked if she had ever thought about installing security cameras in the center.

“My initial reaction was ‘no, not really,’” Wessels said. “I was concerned about filming children, which felt a little creepy to me.”

Senior photography major Rhiannah Gordon enrolled her son in the Children’s Center, but does not see the obvious reason for installing the cameras.

“I don’t ever worry about him there, so I’m kind of curious as to why they’re putting them in, because there’s a ton of eyes there,” Gordon said.

After initial conversations, Wessels went to a California State University Children’s Center Directors’ Group meeting, where she brought up the issue regarding security cameras.

“We’ve never had an incident here,” Wessels said.

After discussing it with the group, Wessels said she became more aware of benefits like cost efficiency and according to security experts, the presence of security cameras discourages crime.

“People get concerned about the vulnerability of young children and think about security,” Wessels said. “When there’s school shootings or things happen in our society, you know it raises people’s awareness of dangers and so on.”

Psychology major Crystal Sims researched local day cares before deciding to use the center here on campus.

“I feel very safe having my child here,” Sims said. “That being said, things can happen that are maybe not even directly related to the Children’s Center. It’s always better to err on the side of caution.”

For those familiar with the center, the cameras will add to its service.

According to the ASI Departmental Budget Summary for 2013-2014, the Children’s Center will bring in an estimated $944,461 in revenue, which makes it the second highest profitable program behind the Aquatic Center.

Program fees vary depending on the child’s age, time spent at the center and whether or not a parent is a student or faculty, but student parents pay approximately $160 a week for toddlers, or $6.50 an hour for drop-ins.

The Children’s Center has a waitlist for new families as the eight classrooms at the center are consistently full.

Staffed with experienced early childhood professionals and student assistants, the Center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, according to the Children’s Center website.

Sims said she likes the structure and development the Center provides, along with the staff.

“It’s mostly the staff themselves as opposed to just having the service on campus,” Sims said. “It would be nice to just have something convenient to take my child to, but knowing that the staff is fully trained and they care for the children whole-heartedly that makes the difference in the whole world.”

According to the Children’s Center website, the center “serves as a home-oriented environment to meet a child’s emotional, physical, intellectual and social growth needs.”

Communications major James Tinsley is one of 104 part-time students employed by the Children’s Center. He found out about the position through the Federal Work Study program and has been employed since the beginning of the semester.

“I think the main thing you learn is patience, and just kind of like go to their level and understand how or what their mind is thinking,” Tinsley said. “It’s kind of cool to bring you back to when you were a kid.”

The Children’s Center is open Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-6 p.m., and is located on the southeast corner of campus on State University Drive East.