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Snowflake students at Oxford University are latest to demand clapping is banned

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Snowflake students at Oxford University are latest to demand clapping is banned because applause noise could trigger anxiety as they call for ‘jazz hands’ to be used instead

  • Roisin McCallion and Ebi Edwards Cole, Oxford Union officers, backed the idea 
  • They argued alternatives to clapping should be found for meetings and events
  • Jazz hands is a sign language expression for applause involving hand waving
  • It was argued that traditional applause poses problems for those with anxiety

Snowflake students at Oxford University are the latest to demand that clapping should be banned because applause noise can trigger anxiety and want ‘jazz hands’ to be used instead. 

The idea for a British sign language alternative for clapping involving the waving of hands was put forward at the student union’s first meeting of the year on Tuesday.

Sabbatical Officers Roisin McCallion, Vice President for Welfare and Equal Opportunity and Ebie Edwards Cole, Chair for Oxford SU Disabilities Campaign, successfully passed the motion to mandate the encouragement of silent clapping.

Roisin McCallion, Vice President for Welfare and Equal Opportunity

Ebie Edwards Cole, Chair for Oxford SU Disabilities Campaign

Sabbatical Officers Roisin McCallion (left), Vice President for Welfare and Equal Opportunity and Ebie Edwards Cole (right), Chair for Oxford SU Disabilities Campaign, successfully passed the motion to mandate the encouragement of silent clapping

They argued that alternatives to traditional clapping have been in place to aid accessibility in some organisations since 2015.

The ban on clapping would be at student union meetings and events where traditional clapping and cheering ‘presents an access issue’ to those with anxiety disorders.

One former student, said: ‘Oxford University Student Union is always seeking to be more accommodating for students. Especially for those with accessibility issues.

‘But this idea will not work and is completely ludicrous.’

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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, which carried, mandates the encouragement of sign language clapping by Sabbatical Officers at union meetings and events (file photo of students at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford)

The motion, which carried, mandates the encouragement of sign language clapping by Sabbatical Officers at union meetings and events (file photo of students at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford)

It comes after the University of Manchester Students Union passed a motion to do the same thing in September last year.

Ms McCallion said: ‘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.’

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