Oxford University Student’s Union have passed a motion to ban clapping on campus, claiming that it would trigger the anxiety of students.
Oxford University SU’s motion mandates the encouragement of jazz hands to signify applause instead of clapping. It was passed by officers of the SU in an effort to be more “inclusive,” after their first meeting of the academic year on Tuesday.
Roisin McCallon, one of the Sabbatical Officers at Oxford SU, defended the decision in a statement:
The policy was proposed in order to encourage the use of British Sign Language clapping during our democratic events, to make those events more accessible and inclusive for all, including people who suffer from anxiety. Inclusivity is one of the Students’ Union’s founding principles.
One former student told The Sun that the whole idea would “not work” and was completely “ludicrous.”
It comes after a similar motion to encourage jazz hands instead of clapping was passed by the University of Manchester’s SU last year, and after delegates from the Universy of Durham at the National Union of Students conference proposed a motion in April 2017 to ban not only clapping, but “whooping” at future NUS events. “The access needs of disabled students are disregarded/overlooked in terms of conference member behaviour and NUS structures,” so the NUS should reduce “cheering or unnecessary loud noises on conference floor, including whooping and clapping.”
Many on Twitter ridiculed the decision:
there is a progressive, egalitarian, utopian virus spreading in the western world. It is NOT new. it’s dangerous and will eventually lead to massive regression, poverty & death as it has before. This is insane:https://t.co/TXkBsLvY6y
— yannispappas (@yannispappas) October 24, 2019
Ironically, whilst Oxford University is trying to be “accessible” and considerate of some students with its clapping ban, they fail to realise that they have now excluded another minority on campus – blind students. Those with visual impairments have now lost a crucial audio cue. Deaf students can still see applause, but blind students cannot hear jazz hands.