A piece by Nicola Woolcock, Education Correspondent, in yesterday’s Times:
A student union has banned clapping at its events, along with any other audible form of appreciation.
Participants will instead have to use “jazz hands” as a silent way of applauding speakers at Manchester University student union.
The union says that the British sign language (BSL) form of clapping is more inclusive than the traditional loud noise, which it claims could upset some students or visitors.
At its first union meeting of the year, it was argued that clapping should be stopped to accommodate those with anxiety or sensory issues.
According to The Mancunion, a student newspaper: “It [the student union] resolved to swap out audible clapping for BSL clapping at student union events, and to encourage student groups and societies to do the same, and to include BSL clapping as a part of inclusion training.”
The motion in Manchester was written by Sara Khan, a liberation and access officer, and received little opposition. [J4MB: A woman’s behind this, and she “received little opposition”! What are the chances?]
The National Union of Students (NUS) has been encouraging the use of jazz hands instead of clapping since 2015. Visitors to its women’s conference [J4MB: Women’s conference. What are the chances?] that year in Solihull asked delegates to stop clapping and use gestures instead as the noise was “triggering anxiety”. It added: “Please be mindful.” [J4MB: Here’s a crazy idea. The people who suffer anxiety as a result of clapping receive the psychological help they need, rather than people who don’t suffer anxiety, carry on with the normal ways of showing appreciation.]
Last year the NUS proposed a similar motion because clapping was having a “serious impact” on some delegates. Shelly Asquith, [J4MB: Another woman!] the NUS vice-president for welfare, said that it had had “a number of requests” for people to stop. [J4MB: Passive-aggressive BS. Was the “number” 1, or 2? Regardless, why should a tiny minority of people wield such power over the overwhelming majority?] Delegates from Durham University then proposed a motion that said that all clapping and whooping must be banned at future NUS events. [J4MB emphasis]
Jeremy Vine, the broadcaster, was criticised on social media for alluding to the First World War in his criticism of the silent applause policy. He wrote: “Glad some brave young souls decided to ignore the difficulties caused by sudden noises 100 years ago.”
Twitter users said that many of those who fought in the war were left with shell shock. One wrote: “Young people must always be compared to an entire lost generation who best exemplify the argument for never, ever listening to your elders.”
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