News, Uncategorised

‘Jazz hands’ policy draws nation’s attention to University of Manchester

0 55

By Ben Thompson
Photography: Vita Student

The University of Manchester Students’ Union found itself at the centre of a national controversy, this week. A recent policy, voted through the Senate with a two-third majority, resolved to “swap audible clapping out for British Sign Language clapping at SU events”.

BSL clapping – in which individuals twist their hands in a manner akin to ‘Jazz hands’ – has long been incorporated into events to be inclusive to deaf audiences and those uncomfortable with loud noises (primarily people with anxiety or autism). The Student Union asserts that their policy came about as a way of being more inclusive towards disabled students.

An extremely vocal backlash followed, spearheaded by many of the country’s most prominent tabloid newspapers. Television presenter Piers Morgan took the opportunity to attack the policy on Good Morning Britain and tweeted ‘Britain’s losing its mind’. The BBC North West account also received thousands of retweets and replies, many of which were critical in nature.

However, the Student Union has published a response insisting that the policy has been greatly misunderstood.

They state that the policy would have no bearing on gigs, theatre productions or sporting events. The Student Union has also clarified that there is no ‘ban on audible clapping’ as many news outlets and pundits have suggested. They reiterate that the policy only seeks to encourage the BSL clapping, rather than enforcing any restrictions on clapping.

Despite the negative backlash, the Student Union is standing by their policy, stating that they have received “many positive responses from disabled students, who were delighted to feel more included in our democratic process”. The Union claims that the policy has led to many of these students participating in events for the first time.

The Union invites all students to get involved in the democratic process and share their ideas in making the university more inclusive for everybody. The next senate meeting will be held on the 8th November, and all members of the University Students’ Union are welcome to attend.

About the author / 

Ben Thompson

Modern History student. Mostly writes about politics and social issues.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More News Stories:

  • Interview: The Super Late Night on His Latest Track, Working as a One-Man Band/Producer and Keeping His Music Unashamedly Personal

    Manchester-based artist, The Super Late Night, is quickly taking the alt-pop world by storm. Boasting a tendency for dramatic hooks and powerful melodies dripping with synth – it’s little wonder why.  The self-described “emo but charismatic” artist, released his debut single, ‘Honey’, around two months ago. It is an emo-pop masterpiece, perfectly encompassing the extreme feelings…

  • ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’: The Legacy of AIDS PSAs in a World of Coronavirus

    In the years before James Cameron’s Titanic, an eerie iceberg appearing on their television screens carried a very different connotations for Britons living in the 1980s. The ominous block of ice had hidden dangers – as icebergs tend to – namely, the word ‘AIDS’ etched out in large letters, hidden beneath the surface of the…

  • Crystal Tides Return With Indie-Pop Anthem ‘Monday’

    Featured Image: Rhona Murphy Portsmouth-based band Crystal Tides are back, with their latest indie-pop anthem ‘Monday’. Since their formation in 2018, the band have built up a strong following, resulting in many memorable sold-out shows in their hometown. However, with their penchant for catchy melodies and relatable lyrics, it surely won’t be long until they’re playing packed…

  • What More Do We Know About Shukri Abdi?

    Last July, aAh! Magazine reported on the tragic death of Shukri Abdi, a 12-year-old schoolgirl from Bury who was found dead in the River Irwell. A group of children were with her in the run up to her death. At the time of her death, it was widely speculated that her death was not an…