Reports are surfacing of a new controversy over the banning of applause at NUS conferences produced by the agency of human hands. The ban was introduced as a concession to a number of conference delegates who made representations to the organising committee of the national conference that they experienced the outbreak of applause as microaggression, particularly when it followed someone making a good point on the other side of the debate from the one they supported. It had been suggested that the use of “Jazz Hands” (see illustration above) as a more sympathetic alternative should be adopted. This proposal was met with approval by the National Students’ Association for the Prevention of Microagression to Persons of Snowflake Disposition who described it as “a significant step towards the removal of barriers to inclusion of a significant number of students facing insignificance issues.”
It had been considered that the practice would be universally adopted at all future NUS conferences. However this decision has been called into question following a recent complaint from the National Students’ Association for the Prevention of Microagression to Blind and Partially Sighted Persons who allege that the new proposal is discriminatory against their members. A spokesperson claimed “We cannot stand by in silence and allow this kind of inconsiderate disregard to be demonstrated towards the blind and partially sighted members of the NUS who now find themselves at significant disadvantage in the debating chamber when they are no longer able to gauge how their speech is being received by the audience.’
No spokesman or spokeswoman could be found to respond from the NUS side but the following statement was issued by their Media Relations Person: “The NUS stands for inclusivity irrespective of race, gender or political or religious persuasion and has zero tolerance for Tory scum with fascist agendas or for homophobic so-called Christians. We will resolve this issue with the interests of all our members in mind.”
A spokesperson for the UKIP Society was reported to have made the suggestion that instead of jazz hands, audience member could wave small Union Jacks and sing Land of Hope and Glory like at the Proms, pointing out that nobody seemed to be offended by this and adding when pressed that it would be acceptable from UKIP’s point of view for non-UK students to wave their own national flag (but drew a line at the waving of the EU ensign). However it seems unlikely that this suggestion will be taken up given that the UKIP Society is not recognised by the NUS and a motion has been slated for next week to consider whether UKIP members could still be considered as human persons under the definition of the Oxford Student Dictionary.
Another suggestion from the Buddhist society that applause be replaced by the sound of one hand clapping it is said was being considered, or rather contemplated, by the NUS executive committee, who apparently remain hopeful the matter can be resolved without needing to be referred to the ECHR.