Published: Wed, October 03, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Manchester Students’ Union bans clapping in favour of ‘jazz hands’

Manchester Students’ Union bans clapping in favour of ‘jazz hands’

Clapping has been banned at some events by a student union keen to be more inclusive towards those with anxiety or sensory issues.

According to a September 28 issue of the university's newspaper, The Mancunion, the students' union passed a resolution that effectively banned clapping at student union events during the first Senate session.

The union said it had "already received many positive responses from disabled students (some of whom are deaf or autistic), who are pleased to feel more included in our democratic process".

"This union notes that since 2015, the National Union of Students (NUS) has been using British sign language (BSL) clapping (or "jazz hands"), as loud noises, including whooping and traditional applause, can pose an issue for students with disabilities such as anxiety or sensory issues", the motion read, The Guardian reported.

Jazz hands or BSL clapping replaces clapping in an effort to make SU events more accessible for these students.

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Earlier this year, If, Rudyard Kipling's poem of paternal advice, was scrubbed off a Manchester University building by university students who claimed he was a racist on the basis that the poem was a tribute to Leander Starr Jameson, the British colonial statesman who led the Jameson Raid against the South African Republic in 1895-6.

So-called "jazz hands", she said, encouraged an "environment of respect".

"Glad some courageous young souls chose to ignore the difficulties caused by sudden noises 100 years ago", wrote Vine, who later deleted the tweet.

The National Union of Students in the United Kingdom also introduced BSL clapping at its events in 2015 in an effort to ensure that "all members of society" feel comfortable and able to contribute. "We don't actively stop our members from clapping, they choose to be respectful and enable other people to get involved". "[British Sign Language] clapping - or, jazz hands - would be a more inclusive form of expression". "It's more "encourage". There are no penalties for people using traditional clapping", she said.

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