Noah Thomas, a junior at IUPUI, is taking a stand. Thomas has observed politics his whole life and the 2018 mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, inspired Thomas to go to his first protest and realized the importance of being a voice for change.
“I’ve seen many different people protest throughout high school and college, especially with Parkland, I remember that specifically going on when I was in high school,” Thomas said. “That was like the first actual protest I took part in. From then on, I realized protesting and being an activist for other people, is truly something I hold close to me.”
Thomas, a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity on campus, works at Tower Dining on campus, and as a campaign manager for Zach Adamson, a councilman in Indianapolis, is making his voice heard on issues, such as sexual assault, abortion, racial issues, and LGBTQ+ rights.
After the murder of an Asian student near Indiana University’s campus, Thomas organized the “No Hate in Bloomington” rally on Feb 2, to protest for racial equality, LGBTQ+ rights and to protest against the recent acts of discrimination that had occurred on the Indiana University campus.
“A lot of students are fed up and want change,” Thomas said. “We protested for change there and to bring awareness to the situations that are going on in Bloomington.”
In June of last year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that gave women access to abortions. In August, the Indiana General Assembly voted on abortion restrictions, resulting in a near-complete ban, according to the IndyStar.
Thomas organized a pro-choice rally in Military Park, near IUPUI, as Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the policy into law in August.
“I’m always a believer in women’s right to choose over their body,” Thomas said. “Women should be able to make decisions about their own bodies, without government interference. It’s a very personal and difficult decision. It should be up to the woman, her family, her faith, and her doctors, that’s it. There shouldn’t be government involvement in that period. I am a staunch pro-choice believer and that will never change.”
In the fall of 2021, IUPUI and IU Bloomington experienced concerning cases of sexual assault and rape, including one that occurred in a stairway of University Tower at IUPUI on September 16. Thomas, a freshman at the time, called for change.
“Cameras need to be put up in the stairwells,” Thomas told WRTV 6. “In elevators and our hallways.”
On October 31, a rape case was reported as having occurred at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at IU Bloomington. Over a dozen cases had been reported on Bloomington’s campus since the start of the ‘21-’22 school year, according to WTHR.
Thomas went to Bloomington with other students, in hopes of making changes to security across all of IU and its satellite campuses.
“Mandatory education on consent,” Thomas told WTHR. “Cameras in residential quads, hallways, elevators, and stairwells.”
Thomas believes that it is important for students and non-students to keep bringing awareness to these important issues.
“It is important to be the change, that’s what I tell all students,” Thomas said. “When you see something going on and you don’t like it, you either speak your voice or not use your voice.If you see something that’s wrong, have a protest, bring some awareness to it. Call your local news stations. Be that change is what I recommend.”
Austin Lawton (he/him) is a senior majoring in journalism.