Lara Prendergast

If students can’t cope with clapping, how can they deal with clubs, festivals and protests?

If students can't cope with clapping, how can they deal with clubs, festivals and protests?
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Organisers at a National Union of Students Women’s Conference have asked that those attending the event use 'jazz hands' instead of clapping, because it is ‘triggering anxiety’.

— NUS Women's Campaign (@nuswomcam) March 24, 2015

Nona Buckley-Irvine, a general secretary at the London School of Economics Students' Union (LSE SU), was reported as saying that ‘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.’

So clapping is to be replaced with a mute form of applause. What I want to know is whether this fear of clapping among British students (which presumably reflects a broader fear of loud noises and big groups of people) extends to other events, such as club nights, music festivals and protests. If so, it really is a dreadful affliction. Having said that, I'd be willing to bet quite a bit of money that the ‘jazz handers’ will have recovered by the time Glastonbury swings round.

Written byLara Prendergast

Lara Prendergast is assistant editor of The Spectator

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