The Right to Pursuit of Happiness
This country is based on the firm belief of personal rights. These rights, according to the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When are these rights taken away? Supposedly never, but today smokers in Albright College are losing these rights. The administration at Albright college is taking away our rights. Smokers at Albright used to be able to smoke in the campus center. I can understand how the smoke would be offensive to non-smokers and why there would need to be a no smoking area. But I can't understand why we smokers are forced to go outside to smoke. Are we less human because we smoke? Why isn't there a place for us to smoke inside? Are we less important because we choose to smoke. Are we to be discriminated against because we enjoy smoking and find happiness in little things like a cigarette.
Right now all smokers at Albright are being treated as second class citizens. We are forced to stand outside in the cold. There are no comfortable seats for us to sit in. We either sit on the steps or the stone benches. What happened to our right to the pursuit of happiness? Why should we be forced outside just to smoke a cigarette. It is not right. We should be able to enjoy a cigarette in comfort. We are entitled to the same treatment as every other student here at Albright. We are entitled to a comfortable chair when we want to sit down. It doesn't matter if we want to smoke a cigarette while we're sitting.
The Declaration of Independence says all men are created equal, that they are endowed . . . with certain unalienable rights . . . among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Equal Rights Amendment takes this one step further by saying equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged . . . on account of sex. This means every single person on this campus has the right to pursue happiness by whatever legal means they can. If we smokers want to enjoy a cigarette inside then there should be somewhere that we can. There should be a smoking room. A room where we can go and enjoy a cigarette without standing in the cold. This is our right as a citizen of the United States.
Smokers are citizens too. Our rights enable us to smoke inside without having to walk all the way back to our rooms. They enable us to have a cigarette when we want one. Albright College should not hinder us from this right. I feel that we smokers should take steps to ensure our rights are protected. We need to let administration know that they cannot treat us as second-class. All of us are equal whether they like it or not.
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