University asks students to use ‘jazz hands’ instead of clapping to avoid triggering anxiety

International

OXFORD (WFLA) – Students at Oxford University in England are being asked to stop clapping at some events and instead use “silent jazz hands” to celebrate.

According to The Oxford Student, the university’s newspaper, students are being encouraged to use British Sign Language clapping – or “silent jazz hands” – at student council meetings and other student union events.

The motion to replace clapping was first presented last year. It was brought up again this year and passed this week at a student council meeting, The Oxford Student reports.

A similar motion was passed last year by the student union at the University of Manchester. In a statement posted by the student union, the group clarified that using sign language in place of clapping is just a suggestion.

“The policy was proposed in order to encourage the use of British Sign Language (BSL) clapping during our democratic events to make those events more accessible and inclusive for all. We are not banning audible clapping – we understand that some people may be more comfortable to continue using it,” the statement said. “Inclusivity is one of the Students’ Union’s founding principles. We recognise that minority groups are underrepresented in political environments and we are working to address that. This policy is one way of doing so inside our Union.”

A report from The Guardian says the National Union of Students has used sign language clapping since 2015 because traditional applause and other loud noises can create issues for some students who suffer from anxiety disorders or sensory sensitivity.

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