Students at the UK’s prestigious Oxford University have voted to replace clapping with a silent wave, in a bid to make their events more inclusive for patrons who suffer from anxiety. It’s sparked angry criticism.
The new policy, which encourages silent clapping – or ‘jazz hands’– was approved by the University’s Students’ Union officers on Tuesday and follows a similar motion voted through by Manchester University last year.
Sabbatical Officers Róisín McCallion explained that they wanted to move to the British Sign Language (BSL) expression for applause to make their events “more accessible and inclusive for all, including people who suffer from anxiety” and who could be triggered by clapping.
It will apply to all student union events and, if it proves successful, rolled out to other societies and events.
The announcement has been met with much ridicule on social media, with accusations flying that this was evidence that universities are “positively discriminating” in favor of those that cannot handle “the big wide world.” While others lamented the fact there were some students who can’t ‘cope’ with clapping.
“What’s next? Silent football & cricket or political rallies?”tweeted another observer.
Universities admissions seems to apply positive discrimination in favour of people who are unable cope in the big wide world.
— Desperate Dan (@DesperateDanX) October 25, 2019
Totally staggering! How do these young people think they are going to survive the real world if they can’t ‘cope’ with clapping 👏👏👏FFS
— Fi Fi (@FionaSpark) October 25, 2019
Brexit Party chair and MEP Richard Tice lashed out at the new code of conduct, claiming that “80 years ago Oxford students had the courage to fight for our country….now they are afraid to clap,” adding: “get a grip, snowflakes.”
However, there were a few people defending the move, with a ‘Youth MP’ claiming that her younger generation were simply “trying to be more inclusive and more accepting” and, somewhat cheekily, apologized for causing any offence for taking that stance.
We are the generation who are trying to be more inclusive and more accepting.
We apologies if you take any offence from that 😊 But we are trying to build a better future
— Emma Greenwood 🌍💚 (@emma_ymp) October 25, 2019
In 2015, the National Union of Students in the UK also introduced BSL clapping at its events, in an effort to ensure that “all members of society” feel comfortable and able to contribute and participate.
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