Hold your applause, please.
That’s the new rule for some events at the University in Manchester in the U.K. after the students’ union voted to replace clapping with its sign language equivalent, popularly known as “jazz hands.”
In its motion, the union stated that “loud noises, including whooping and traditional applause, can pose an issue for students with disabilities such as anxiety or sensory issues.” The motion also noted that the National Union of Students, the umbrella organization of higher and further education unions in the United Kingdom, has been using British Sign Language clapping (the official term for “jazz hands”) since 2015.
The Guardian newspaper also reported that the University of Manchester union resolved to “swap audible clapping out for BSL clapping at [student union] events in order to make them more accessible” and to “encourage student groups and societies to do the same, and to include BSL clapping as part of inclusion training.”
The new guidelines apply to debates, panels and talks, but not to musical gigs, theatre productions or sporting events.
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.”
Not everyone was on board with the change. Media personality Piers Morgan tweeted, “Britain’s losing its mind,” while fellow broadcaster Jeremy Vine posted a picture of World War I soldiers.
“Glad some brave young souls decided to ignore the difficulties caused by sudden noises 100 years ago,” wrote Vine, who later deleted the tweet.
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