A motion to ban clapping over concerns the noise “triggers” anxiety passed this week at the University of Oxford.
The elite British university’s student union voted on Tuesday to mandate the use of “jazz hands” at student council meetings and other school events, NBC affiliate WXPI reported.
“Jazz hands” are the British Sign Language equivalent of clapping and are performed by raising your hands in the air and enthusiastically wiggling your fingers.
“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,” said student union official Roisin McCallion, according to British outlet Metro.
“Inclusivity is one of the Students’ Union’s founding principles,” McCallion added.
Students who proposed replacing traditional clapping with an alternative pointed to a 2015 New York Times article that declared “snapping is the new clapping.”
The motion was presented to the council last year and reintroduced in 2019, according to The Oxford Student, a university newspaper.
In August, at the Democratic Socialists of America’s annual convention in Georgia, organizers also prohibited clapping, along with all other noisemaking, during speeches.
“We have a lot of disabled comrades,” one of the organizers told the crowd. To avoid “triggering” those with “invisible disabilities,” participants must refrain from clapping, cheering, hissing or conferring in any way with those around them, he said.
The organizer also shared that DSA had set up a “range of options” for “quiet rooms,” where participants could go to escape noise “so that people aren’t going to get triggered.” But he asked that participants wearing perfume not enter the quiet rooms, as the “aggressive scent” could be triggering.
“We don’t want to put people in stressful situations that they don’t consent to,” the organizer said on the issue of perfume avoidance.
Above all, he declared, all interaction with police was forbidden.
- A man performing the “jazz hands” gesture.: WikiMedia Commons