Clapping to be replaced by ‘jazz hands’ at Manchester University Student Union events

"The loud noise of traditional clapping and whooping pose an issue to students with anxiety or sensory issues"

Clapping and cheering has been replaced at Manchester University’s Student Union events in order to make them more accessible.

The traditional method of clapping has been axed in favour of ‘jazz hands’, which is the British Sign Language (BSL) equivalent.

According to the union, the loud noise of clapping often proves to be an issue for students who are affected by anxiety and sensory conditions.

Instead, students are now encouraged to use quiet clapping or jazz hands when in attendance at students events such as panels, talks and wide-ranging debates.

The policy, passed at a student union senate, states: “To swap audible clapping out for BSL clapping at SU events in order to make them more accessible.

“To encourage student groups and societies to do the same, and to include BSL clapping as a part of inclusion training, it was argued that the loud noise of traditional clapping and whooping pose an issue to students with anxiety or sensory issues. BSL (British Sign Language) clapping – or, jazz hands – would be a more inclusive form of expression.”

A similar initiative was passed at the National Union of Students conference in 2017, as clapping would have a “serious impact” on the ability of some attendees.