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Manchester Students’ Union Swaps Applause For ‘Jazz Hands’

October 3, 2018

Manchester University’s students’ union has become the latest student body to vote to replace applause with “jazz hands” in an attempt to make events more accessible for people with disabilities.

At its first meeting of the academic year, the union voted to use British sign language clapping, which involves waving your hands in the air, instead of audible clapping, at events.

“This union notes that since 2015, the National Union of Students (NUS) has been using British sign language (BSL) clapping (or ‘jazz hands’), as loud noises, including whooping and traditional applause, can pose an issue for students with disabilities such as anxiety or sensory issues,” the motion read.

The union resolved “to swap audible clapping out for BSL clapping at SU events in order to make them more accessible” and “to encourage student groups and societies to do the same, and to include BSL clapping as part of inclusion training”.

In a statement, the union said that the vote did not constitute a ban on clapping and that BSL applause would be used at democratic events and not gigs, theatre productions or sport.

They said: “Inclusivity is one of the students’ union’s founding principles. We recognise that minority groups are underrepresented in political environments and we are working to address that. This policy is one way of doing so inside our union.

“We have already received many positive responses from disabled students (some of whom are deaf or autistic), who are pleased to feel more included in our democratic process. Some of them plan to attend upcoming democratic events at the SU for the first time, thanks to this policy.”

The NUS voted to start using BSL clapping in 2015. Speaking at the time, Nona Buckley-Irvine, the then general secretary of the London School of Economics students’ union, told the BBC: “Jazz hands are used throughout NUS in place of clapping as a way to show appreciation of someone’s point without interrupting or causing disturbance, as it can create anxiety.

“I’m relatively new to this and it did feel odd at first, but once you’ve used jazz hands a couple of times, it becomes a genuinely nice way to show solidarity with a point and it does add to creating a more inclusive atmosphere.”

A spokesperson for the British Deaf Association said it welcomed any steps to make events more accessible for deaf and disabled people.

“Sign languages are languages within their own right, with their own grammar, syntax and idioms,” the association said.

“For many people, they are also languages of necessity and of access. The uptake of the ‘wave’ applause used by many sign language users shows us that access measures can have positive knock-on effects for an even wider group.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2018 1:06 am

    What a load of nonsense.

  2. October 3, 2018 4:47 pm

    I thought that BS was made up.

    Insane childish politically correct c*ap.

    So Manchester Students’ Union hates BLIND people do they?

    If those posing politically correct children want to blow some hot air about ‘disability’ is garbage about “clapping” the best that they can manage?
    (or would doing anything *real* just annoy their political masters?)

    Here’s Manchester Students’ Union Ahem… “Disabled Students Campaign Group” –

    The FIRST line of their garbage –
    “The Disability Discrimination Act, (2005) defines disability as”……

    “The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which has now been ***REPEALED*** and replaced by the Equality Act 2010”

    “only 4% of those registered as blind have no vision at all”

    Yup Manchester Students’ Union HATES BLIND people.
    That BS is a total distortion.
    People can be “registered” as – severely sight impaired/blind or sight impaired/partially sighted.

    Click to access The%20benefits%20of%20registering%20as%20blind%20or%20partially%20sighted.pdf

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