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NUS motion proposes banning whooping and cheering at student conferences

Students encourage to use "jazz hands" to express their support

Caroline Mortimer
Friday 28 April 2017 14:39 BST
NUS Vice-President for Welfare Shelley Asquith repeatedly told people at the conferences not to clap
NUS Vice-President for Welfare Shelley Asquith repeatedly told people at the conferences not to clap (Twitter/Shelley Asquith)

A motion proposed by delegates at the National Union of Students (NUS) conference warned there would be "consequences" for students who clap and whoop at future events.

At a conference session earlier this week students were told that whooping had "a serious impact on some delegates ability to access conference.”

Shelly Asquith, the NUS vice president for welfare said they had had "a number of requests" for people to stop".

Attendees were instead encourage to us "jazz hands" - wave their hands in the air - instead of clapping.

Delegates from the University of Durham then proposed a motion which said that all clapping and whooping must be banned at all future NUS events.

The “access needs of disabled students are disregarded/overlooked in terms of conference member behaviour and NUS structures”, it said, adding that this can lead to the “safety and wellbeing” of disabled students being compromised.

So the motion calls for “reduced cheering or unnecessary loud noises on conference floor, including whooping and clapping” and warns of “consequences for those who ignore this requirement”, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Last year delegates banned clapping because they said it could trigger “clap-based anxiety”.

The measure was denounced by critics and social media users who pointed out that such a measure technically discriminates against blind people who cannot hear “jazz hands”.

One commentator on the Reddit website said: “I'm all for being inclusive, but this seems just downright patronising to any actual deaf people. $10 says they didn't actually ask deaf people how they felt about the ‘issue’.”

Another pointed out: “My deaf friends clap at events and have never shown an offence to it... Not sure where these people think they have a right to speak for them.”

The Independent has approached the NUS for comment but none had arrived at the time of publication.

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