Clapping Banned At Oxford University To Stop People Being ‘Triggered’

Max JenkinsMax Jenkins in News, UK
Published 27.10.19

Has anyone ever wondered what the theme tune to Friends would sound like if they scrapped the clapping?

No, me neither. But Students at Oxford University have decided to give it a go, replacing clapping with ‘waving’ to avoid triggering each other’s anxiety.

‘So no one told you life was gonna be this waaaaay’ *jazz hands*


Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, but whatever.

Friends aside, Oxford is taking example from Manchester University, whose Student Union famously passed a motion last year to enforce jazz hands at events that usually include applause, like an open-mic night or student debate.

The motion was passed on account that what we know as ‘Jazz Hands’ is in fact the British Sign Language expression of applause. Back then, the SU paper Mancunion (what a pun) claimed that the change in method to express delight and support for one another was ‘more inclusive’ and protected noise-sensitive students from anxiety attacks.

According to the paper: ‘It was argued that the loud noise of traditional clapping and whooping pose an issue to students with anxiety or sensory issues.


‘BSL clapping – or “jazz hands” – would be a more inclusive form of expression.’

Liberation and Access Officer Sara Khan, who drafted the law, hoped the motion would ‘encourage student groups and societies to do the same, and to include BSL clapping as a part of inclusion training.’

Well, Ms Khan, you’re in luck, because not only has another university decided to follow suit, that university is the most prestigious in the country. Potentially the world.

Give yourself a round of applause! Or a round of jazz hands. Whichever works.

In the first meeting of the new school year, the Oxford Union successfully debated and voted to pass this motion. Which, if you think about it, makes the Oxford Union more effective than the national government.

Vice President for Welfare and Equal Opportunities, Roisin McCallion, said of the motion: ‘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.


‘Inclusivity is one of Oxford Union’s founding principles.’

oxford clapping

Despite a general sense of support from students, there were a few who thought this was a little bit, y’know, insane?

As one Oxford graduate commented: ‘Oxford University Student Union is always seeking to be more accommodating.

‘But this idea will not work and is completely ludicrous.’

She is not alone. Naturally, Piers Morgan has weighed in on the debate, claiming that the UK is ‘losing its mind’.

If you are someone who thinks this is beyond weird and actually does more harm to modern inclusivity than good, just remember that a meeting of the Democratic Socialists of America erupted into chaos this August after one member complained of ‘sensory overload’ that began with the innocent whisperings of some blokes at the back of the hall.


This totally triggered this other bloke because he used the word ‘guys’ in his complaint, as ‘guys’ is considered ‘gendered language’.

As you can see in this clip, many of the 1500-strong socialists supported the points of privilege with jazz hands. The bloke who made the original complaint would later rant that the incessant stream of complaints was contributing to even more ‘sensory overloads’ which had descended from ‘chatter’ to ‘heckling and hissing’.

‘It is triggering to my anxiety,’ he complained.


‘Like, being comradely isn’t just for like, keeping things civil or whatever. It’s so people aren’t going to get triggered and so that it doesn’t affect their performance as a delegate.’

I want to say Oxford and Manchester’s decision to abolish clapping is a ludicrous idea, but the truth is I can’t wait to see Jeremy Paxman’s face on what will make history as the most woke round of University Challenge in living memory …

Images via Oxford/Facebook