In Brief

Student union votes to replace clapping with ‘jazz hands’

Manchester University student union passes motion to introduce ‘more inclusive forms of expression’

Manchester University’s student union has voted to replaced applause with “jazz hands” in an attempt to prevent the alienation of people suffering from sensory issues, autism or anxiety.

In its first meeting of the 2018-19 academic year, the union passed a motion to ban regular clapping in favour of its British Sign Language (BSL) equivalent, where applause is expressed by waving both hands in the air, The Guardian says.

The motion claimed that the “loud noise of traditional clapping and whooping” poses an “issue to students with anxiety or sensory issues”, adding that the National Union of Students (NUS) has been advocating the use of BSL clapping at its conferences since 2015.

Liberation and Access Officer Sara Khan said: “BSL clapping – or, jazz hands – would be a more inclusive form of expression.”

Motions need a 66% majority to pass, Metro says, and it was reported that there was “little opposition” to the move.

However, the paper adds that a student from the university later appeared on ITV show Good Morning Britain denying that it is banned.

She said they are “encouraging others to consider not clapping”, rather than prohibiting it entirely, despite the student union’s own website referring to it as a ban.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph in 2017, an NUS spokesperson said: “The hand gesture... means more people can participate in our conference. We don’t actively stop our members from clapping, they choose to be respectful and enable other people to get involved.”

Nevertheless, the idea has caused a divide on Twitter. Some users expressed their support for the decision and criticised comments made by Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan, who was accused of “mocking” anxiety sufferers.

Meanwhile, others couldn’t hide their derision over the plan:

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