Clapping has been banned at Manchester University in a bid to avoid triggering anxiety among students with autism and sensory issues.
Strange as it may sound, the school will now use ‘jazz hands’- which is UK’s sign language reference to clapping- as a form of expression when interacting with students who suffer the mentioned health conditions. According to the university’s website, the decision was arrived at following the institution’s Senate debate on the best possible and widely inclusive forms of expression at the school’s events that cater for all students, regardless of their physiological conditions.
“Jazz hands will be used instead of traditional clapping, whooping, and cheering at University of Manchester Students’ Union (SU) events, following a motion voted through the first Senate session of the academic year, held on Thursday 27th September.” A section of the motion paper read. “It was argued that the loud noise of traditional clapping and whooping pose an issue to students with anxiety or sensory issues. BSL (British Sign Language) clapping – or, jazz hands – would be a more inclusive form of expression,’’ it added.
However, students on the social sites didn’t take such a decision lightly with many criticizing the move. One Tweeted, ‘So… blind students, who can hear “traditional” clapping, will be further disadvantaged because they cannot see “BSL clapping”. Truly inclusive.’
One can only imagine the awkward silence that would accompany the university’s major events.