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The NUS might just have asked its delegates to use jazz hands instead of clapping because of anxiety

25th March 2015

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What do we have here then?

According to various sources (and the ever reliable humans of twitter) the NUS has just made a big old gaff by asking its delegates to stop clapping... and start using jazz hands instead.

Why, you are immediately likely to be asking?

According to the Huffington Post, during an NUS conference on Tuesday delegates requested that attendees swap their clappy hands for jazzy ones, as the foremost was causing anxiety.

The request led to the following tweet, from the NUS Women’s Campaign, which was rapidly retweeted a thousand and a half times – whether in solidarity or mockery, we cannot say:

Well. Not that we want to appear insensitive, and we appreciate that certain situations can be triggering for people who might have gone through trauma and might experience anxiety as a result.

But, you know, clapping. CLAPPING.

Here is twitter’s (predictably and justifiably sarky, occasionally angry) reaction to this unlikely chain of events:


We’re wondering if the perpetrators of this attempt at a clapping ban were actually taking the proverbial Michael.

If so, they’ve caused a bloody ruckus.

The request was made at the NUS’s Women’s Conference, which was taking place in Solihull, and was picked up on fairly quickly by the BBC and various other media outlets.

No word on whether clapping was instead replaced with jazz hands by all delegates – although the request does appear to have been taken up by some of those in attendance.

Speaking to Newsbeat, LSE Student Union’s general secretary Nona Buckley-Irvine said: "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.

"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."

Which leads us to believe that jazz hands, in fact, are commonplace in the NUS and that clapping is on its way out as a human activity/signifier of general appreciation.

We shall comment no further on this. Really, we’re done here. Moving on...

During the conference, various actual important things happened – including the passing of motions concerning sexism faced by black women on campus, rent control and universal childcare.

If you want to find out what happened (and is still happening – the conference hasn’t ended yet) other than controversy over clapping, follow the hashtags #womcon15 and #nuswomen15

And if you’re suffering with anxiety, check out the information and help provided by Mind, the mental health charity.

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