Just Listening to the Snowflake Generation Gives Me Anxiety

U.K. student union bans applause in favour of ‘jazz hands’ because clapping could ‘trigger anxiety’

U.K. student union bans applause in favour of ‘jazz hands’ because clapping could ‘trigger anxiety’
Sara Khan, Manchester University’s liberation and access officer, argued that traditional applause was not sufficiently ‘accessible.’ Whooping is also discouraged

With jazz hands, no one gets hurt.Getty Images
The Telegraph
LONDON — Clapping has been replaced with “jazz hands” at a British student union amid fears that the noise of applause could trigger anxiety among some students.

Whooping is also discouraged at Manchester University student union events on the basis that the loud noise may be a problem for those with sensory issues.

The use of “jazz hands” — where students wave their hands in the air — is the British Sign Language expression for applause and is deemed a more inclusive gesture.

At the union’s first meeting of the year, Sara Khan, who is Manchester University’s liberation and access officer, argued that traditional applause was not sufficiently “accessible.” The union resolved to ban clapping in favour of “jazz hands,” and urged “student groups and societies to do the same.”

The students’ union also plans to make “BSL clapping” part of inclusion training for new students.

The union noted that “loud noises, including whooping and traditional applause, could pose an issue for students with disabilities, such as those with anxiety or sensory issues.” Jazz hands should be favoured at debates, panels and talks as well as at meetings of the student senate, it said.

Students who whoop, cheer and clap should face ‘consequences’

“Jazz hands” were adopted by the National Union of Students (NUS) in 2015 on the basis that clapping “triggers anxiety.” Delegates at last year’s NUS conference said that students who whoop, cheer and clap should face “consequences.”

Audience members were repeatedly warned that they must cease whooping to express support for a speaker because it had a “serious impact” on the accessibility of the conference for disabled students.

Critics of the move say that such behaviour is typical of an over-sensitive “snowflake generation” of students who are quick to take offence. Last year it emerged that Oxford University’s equality and diversity unit had issued guidance to students advising them that those who avoided making eye contact with their peers could be guilty of racism.

The University of Glasgow started issuing “trigger warnings” for theology students studying the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, whereby students would be told in advance that they may see distressing images and would be given the opportunity to leave the room.

Let’s silently hear it for jazz hands! Getty Images
Earlier this year, If, Rudyard Kipling’s poem of paternal advice, was scrubbed off a Manchester University building by university students who claimed he was a racist on the basis that the poem was a tribute to Leander Starr Jameson, the British colonial statesman who led the Jameson Raid against the South African Republic in 1895-6.

Student leaders at the university declared that Kipling stood “for the opposite of liberation, empowerment, and human rights.”

The poem, which had been painted on the wall of the students’ union building by an artist, was removed by students in a bid to reclaim history on behalf of those who had been oppressed by “the likes of Kipling.”

A union spokesman said the hand gesture referred to as “jazz hands” was “designed to support those with disabilities and/or sensory conditions to participate in events.”

They added: “Students’ unions strive to make their events welcoming to all of their students by acknowledging their experiences and responding to their needs.”

A spokesman for Manchester University said: “We consider this a matter for the Students’ Union.”

Trouble Deciding How to Think on Canadian Issues? No worries: from now on, we’ll tell you what you’re allowed to think. Part Two.


Christie Blatchford: Thought police strike again as Wilfrid Laurier grad student is chastised for showing Jordan Peterson video

Christie Blatchford: Thought police strike again as Wilfrid Laurier grad student is chastised for showing Jordan Peterson video

Her supervising professor told her that by showing the video to her ‘Canadian Communication in Context’ class, ‘it basically was like … neutrally playing a speech by Hitler …’

A Wilfrid Laurier University teaching assistant has been identified as “transphobic” and sanctioned for last week showing her class an excerpt of a video debate involving the controversial University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson.

In fact, her supervising professor, Nathan Rambukkana, told her that by showing the video to her “Canadian Communication in Context” class, “it basically was like … neutrally playing a speech by Hitler …”

Lindsay Shepherd, a 22-year-old graduate student at the school in Waterloo, Ont., was informed that merely by showing the clip, taken from a televised debate between Peterson and Nicholas Matte, a lecturer at the U of T’s Sexual Diversity Studies program, she was “legitimizing” Peterson’s views about genderless pronouns.

She has been told that she must now submit her lesson plans to her supervisor in advance, that he may sit in on her next few classes and she must “not show any more controversial videos of this kind.”

Jordan Peterson speaks to a group at the Carleton Place Arena on Thursday, June 15, 2017.Darren Brown / Ottawa Citizen/Ottawa Sun

The debate was originally aired last fall on the well-regarded TVO news show The Agenda, hosted by Steve Paikin, when Peterson’s YouTube lectures about the dangers of the then-looming federal Bill C-16 first went viral.

It was in the context of this bill, which added “gender expression” and “gender identity” to both the federal human rights act and the Criminal Code, that Peterson first publicly criticized the use of gender-neutral pronouns such as “zie”, “zher” and “they” and found himself in a free speech battle.

The bill received royal assent in June and is now law.

Shepherd was this week hauled into a meeting with Rambukkana, program co-ordinator Herbert Pimlott and Adria Joel, acting manager of the “Gendered Violence Prevention and Support” program.

She was told that after she showed the five-minute video clip, “one student/many students” — the group refused to say how many students were unhappy because that information is deemed confidential — complained that she had created “a toxic climate.”

Jordan Peterson, Canadian clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, poses for a portrait at his home in Toronto, Ontario, May 31, 2017

Spunkily, she asked if she was supposed to shelter students from controversial ideas. “Am I supposed to comfort them?” she asked at one point, bewildered, and said it was antithetical to the spirit of a university.

Rambukkana then informed her that since Bill C-16 was passed, even making such “arguments run(s) counter” to the law.

In the 35-minute meeting, where she was outnumbered three to one, Shepherd vigorously defended herself, explaining she had been scrupulously even-handed and not taken a position herself or endorsed Peterson’s remarks before showing the video, and that her students seemed engaged by it, and had expressed a wide range of opinions.

But that was part of the problem, she was told — by presenting the matter neutrally, and not condemning Peterson’s views as “problematic” or worse, she was cultivating “a space where those opinions can be nurtured.”

Wilfrid Laurier university campus in downtown Brantford. RANDY RICHMOND / THE LONDON FREE PRESS / QMI AGENCY

The two professors seemed suspicious that perhaps Shepherd was a plant of Peterson’s, and were alert to any hint that she was a closet supporter of the dread “alt-right” movement they both mentioned.

Rambukkana asked her off the top if she wasn’t from the University of Toronto, and Shepherd said no.

In fact, she got her B.A. (Honours with Distinction) in Communication, with a minor in political science, from Simon Fraser University and is a native of Burnaby, B.C. She was accepted to Wilfrid Laurier on a $4,500 graduate scholarship, in addition to her TA funding package.

Ah, said Rambukkana, “so you’re not one of Jordan Peterson’s students.”

He then told her Peterson was “highly involved with the alt-right,” that he had bullied his own students and asked, “do you see why this is not something … that is up for debate?”

When Shepherd protested that it is very much up for debate, Rambukkana chastised her by saying the discussion creates an “unsafe learning environment.”

He then told her the university was being “blanketed” by white power posters, and asked if she would show a class a white supremacist in debate. Shepherd replied, “if that was the content of the week (the lesson), yeah, maybe.”

At one point, she was asked how she would feel, if she was a trans person, seeing a video of Peterson, and she said she didn’t know, but that she believed a university’s job was to make its students stronger.

“Is it your position these students are not strong?” one of the professors immediately demanded.

Pimlott seemed obsessed with scholarly qualifications — his own and Peterson’s alleged lack of same — and at one point expressed amusement at the way Peterson characterized the left as being in power in academia and “you’re going to be in prison” if you don’t use people’s preferred pronouns or profess loyalty to cultural Marxism.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, Pimlott said, but the university has a “duty to make sure we’re not furthering … Jordan Peterson.”

They were oblivious to the fact that they themselves were proving him right by holding the 2017 equivalent of the “struggle sessions” so beloved in Mao’s China.

Shepherd is now sufficiently disillusioned, she told Postmedia Friday, that she is “about 70-per-cent sure I will be leaving Wilfrid Laurier after this semester is over.”

None of Rambukkana, Pimlott or Joel replied to emails from Postmedia.

• Email: cblatchford@postmedia.com | Twitter: http://platform.twitter.com/widgets/follow_button.d7c36168330549096322ed9760147cf7.en.html#dnt=false&id=twitter-widget-0&lang=en&screen_name=blatchkiki&show_count=true&show_screen_name=true&size=m&time=1510412970586

Enough with this “partner” business!

Really? You’re going out for dinner with your “partner?” Meeting up with your “partner” on Sunday?

Come on! What are you? Bridge players? Pairs figure skaters?

Can we just say “boyfriend,” “girlfriend,” “wife” or whatever the hell our “partners” really are?

Probably not. I’ll be quiet now and slink on back to my cave.