In a bizarre decision, the Oxford University Student’s Union has passed a motion to ban clapping on campus, claiming that it would trigger the anxiety of students.
According to reports, the ‘snowflake’ students at Oxford University have demanded that clapping should be banned because applause noise can trigger anxiety and want “jazz hands” to be used instead.
The use of jazz hands, where students wave their hands in the air is the British Sign Language expression for applause and is deemed a more inclusive gesture.
The motion passed by the Oxford University SU mandates the encouragement of jazz hands to signify applause instead of clapping. It was passed by officers of the SU on Tuesday in an effort to be more “inclusive”.
Roisin McCallon, one of the officers at Oxford SU, defended the decision stating, “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.”
Reportedly, the Student’s union argued that alternatives to traditional clapping have been in place to aid accessibility in some organisations since 2015. The ban on clapping will be followed at student union meetings and events where traditional clapping and cheering ‘presents an access issue’ to those with anxiety disorders.
However, some students have expressed their disagreement over banning of clapping on the university campus. “Oxford University Student Union is always seeking to be more accommodating. But this idea will not work and is completely ludicrous,” a former student fumed.
Critics say that such behaviour is typical of the “snowflake generation” of students, who are seen as over-sensitive.
The move by the Oxford Student’s Union comes after the University of Manchester Students Union passed a motion to do the same thing in September last year. Similarly, the delegates from the University 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.
Ironically, Oxford University decision to ban clapping to be more “accessible” is actually not inclusive as they claim as they have now excluded another minority on campus – blind students. The students with visual impairments have now lost a crucial audio cue. Even though deaf students can still see applause even if they don’t hear the sound of clapping, blind students cannot hear jazz hands as it does not make any sound.