Associate professor Judith Sylvester discusses the smoke-free initiative on campus Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, at the first Student Government meeting of the semester.

The Student Government Senate voted to raise the Mass Transit Fee by $20 Wednesday night, also discussing a potential ban of tobacco on campus.

SG Senate spent hours debating whether or not to increase the current transit fee of $66.20 by $13, $18.53 or $20.

According to the LSU Transit Survey, to keep the same quality of service the fee would have to be raised by $13 because of inflation over the years.

The survey also found that students would be willing to pay an average increase of $18.53. The $20 increase will allow the University Office of Parking, Traffic and Transportation Services to purchase another bus.

The senators were split in their opinions between those who wanted to save students money and those who saw the appeal of a new bus.

“If students don’t want to pay more than $20 then why are we going to force it upon them?” said SG senator George Bevan Jr. “When students come up to us and ask why the fee has increased, we are going to be the ones who answer for it.”

SG President John Woodard voiced his opinion and urged the Senate to think about the future of the University’s students.

“I think this decision is huge,” Woodard said. “We have to think about what the University is going to look like five years from now. We have to look at what’s the best for the University as a whole.”

About 90 percent of the senators voted in favor of a fee increase of $20.

Gary Graham, director of Parking, Traffic and Transportation, has the final say in the transit fee, Parks said, but he wanted to allow SG to have the final say.

If ultimately passed, the transit fee increase will take place in the fall 2014 semester.

The Senate also discussed a possible ban on tobacco.

Vice Chancellor and Enrollment Chair of the Smoke-Free Policy Committee Kurt Keppler, along with mass communication professor Judith Sylvester and executive director of Facility Services Tony Lombardo hosted a question and answer session for the senators about the smoke free policy and possible tobacco ban.

Keppler said the smoking policy was mandatory for next year, but raised the idea of a possible smoking area on campus.

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