A liberal university in the UK has banned people from clapping at events in order to avoid triggering anxiety-ridden students.
Officers at the University of Manchester Students’ Union say the loud noise of clapping and cheering can create emotional distress to people with sensory and/or emotional issues.
Dailymail.co.uk reports: A motion was put forward by the union’s liberation and access officer Sara Khan to replace it with British Sign Language clapping, also known as ‘jazz hands.’
The union decided to make the switch and to ‘encourage student groups and societies to do the same, and to include BSL clapping as a part of inclusion training’.
The motion was passed last Thursday at the union’s first meeting of the academic year, reported student newspaper The Mancunion.
But Channel 5 presenter Jeremy Vine tweeted a picture of First World War soldiers, saying: ‘Glad some brave young souls decided to ignore the difficulties caused by sudden noises 100 years ago.’
The issue was discussed on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today, with presenter Piers Morgan saying: ‘”If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands” – that’s going to have to go now, isn’t it?
‘If you’re happy and you know it and you want to clap your hands, be careful – it may trigger anxiety. So, if you’re happy, don’t clap your hands, children.’
Commenting on Twitter, Ricky French said: ‘Absolutely ridiculous. In ten years’ time we won’t be able to think or breathe without offending someone somewhere!’
Another said: ‘I suffer from anxiety and depression, the ability to clap and cheer causes euphoria that is crucial wellbeing! The world has gone crazy! Absolute tosh!’
But ‘Ladykarma’ said: ‘My son has a sensory (processing) disorder which means all loud noises can set of anxiety or a melt down.
‘Why should he have to miss out on receiving an award or miss out on an event because of his disabilities? Using silent clapping will help my son share in the same experiences.’
However Karen Garrett responded: ‘I have a child with autism and I teach him to clap – and if you get them used to all noises they will process them and acclimatise to different sounds.’
And ‘Penny’ said: ‘I suffer with anxiety but I find the clap ban ridiculous. You can’t just change a well known tradition because of a minority.
‘Dogs make me anxious but I’m not calling for all dogs to be killed in this world you can’t ever please everyone so just go with the majority.’
Nicky Lidbetter, the chief executive of Anxiety UK, told MailOnline: ‘Our experience is that noise is not necessarily a typical trigger of anxiety though it can be for some, e.g. those who have anxiety associated with autism.
‘That said, we support any initiative, such as this which promote and support inclusivity.’
The National Union of Students first started using ‘jazz hands’ in 2015, when delegates at its women’s conference were asked to stop clapping to avoid anxiety.
Speaking at the time, Nona Buckley-Irvine, the then general secretary at the London School of Economics union, said: ‘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.’