ISS debates transportation fee, passes protection referendum for 911 calls

The Illinois Student Senate did not take a stance on a transportation fee referendum question at its meeting Wednesday night.

The senate debated a resolution to support the fee change, which would increase fees by two dollars for 2013, four dollars for 2014 and three dollars for 2015. The increases would be used to keep bus service at the current levels and expand the services offered by SafeRides.

Jim Maskeri, student senator and junior in LAS, said the 2.5 percent increase, which is due to inflation, is consistent with other fee increases, such as the ones in housing and meals. Upon receiving student feedback from surveys and town hall meetings, Maskeri determined that additional SafeRides service on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays is something that students would support.

“We chose this (recommendation) because we thought this one best serves students,” he said. “It also coincides with recommendations student senate made.”

The senate did not pass the resolution supporting the referendum question.

Last semester, the student body voted in favor of a referendum question proposing a campus-wide smoking ban. ISS passed a resolution creating an ad hoc committee to discuss the ban and compile a report about it.

The chancellor’s office currently has a committee working on compiling its own report. Shana Harrison, LAS senator and undergraduate representative to the chancellor’s committee, said that creating the ad hoc committee may be repetitive, as the chancellor’s committee is doing similar work.

“Right now the stage that this resolution is at is at the same stage that we’re (the chancellor’s group) at,” she said. “It seems a tad redundant … when there will be a report released this semester.”

The senate overwhelmingly passed a resolution supporting an amendment to the student code that would protect students from the University’s disciplinary consequences when they call 911. It would apply to students seeking help for alcohol poisoning or sexual assault that involves underage drinking.