SSU’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion hosts silent lunch


PORTSMOUTH-Shawnee State University’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) held a silent lunch on campus to commemorate deaf awareness. The event was open to the campus community to attend and learn more about obstacles facing the deaf community.

“Individuals that are deaf and hard of hearing are often overlooked and excluded in the hearing world,” said Noel Payne, SSU’s assistant director of DEI. “To reduce barriers of misunderstanding and avoidance, we immersed others in a silent environment where everyone must communicate via writing, signing, or reading lips.”

Linda Malizio, an adjunct professor of Deaf Studies, was the main presenter at the event. To the group, she shared her own story of becoming deaf, overcoming obstacles in her life, and how others can support the deaf community. Her presentation also gave further information on how to and how not to communicate with the deaf and hard of hearing.

DEI is hoping to continue this event next year to spread awareness of different obstacles within the deaf community and how to support those needs.

To learn more about initiatives within the Shawnee State University Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, visit

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