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Oxford University students vote to stop clapping

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OXFORD, England — The Oxford Student Union has voted to stop clapping on campus.

The motion to stop the applause was presented to the Student Council last year by Ellie Macdonald (former VP Welfare and Equal Opportunities) and Ebie Edwards Cole (Chair for Oxford SU Disabilities Campaign) and was reintroduced this year for a vote according to The Oxford Student.

Instead of putting your hands together, the council has adopted the use of  British Sign Language (BSL) clapping, otherwise known as ‘silent jazz hands,’ to help include students “who have anxiety disorders, sensory sensitivity, and/or those who use hearing impairment aids” gain greater access to events.

“As well as mandating the Sabbatical Officers to encourage the use of jazz hands at Student Council, the motion also mandates Sabbatical Officers to ‘lobby the University’ to use jazz hands in place of applause at University and college level events, with an explanation of why the change is important,” the student council said in a release.

Sabbatical Officers Roisin McCallion told the UK’s Metro News: ‘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.

Oxford is the second school in the UK to adopt a silent applause motion. Students at Manchester also passed a similar motion in 2018.