By Joe Harker
In British Sign Language jazz hands are the symbol of applause, at the University of Manchester's student union they are now the official substitute. Clapping, whooping and cheering are out in favour of vigorous jazz hands as union officers voted to help students with sensory issues, for whom loud noises of celebration could be highly distressing.
Writing in The Guardian, Gaby Hinsliff supported the decision. She explained that she opposed the idea a few years ago when the National Union of Students but realised she'd changed her mind when the University of Manchester made their decision, happy that people were "erring more heavily on the side of kindness".
Clapping and cheering can be difficult for people who are autistic. The BBC spoke to Hannah Molesworth, who has autism and explained how difficult it is to endure loud noises. She said: "Sometimes I literally just freeze up and I'll just sit there and get more overwhelmed until I end up crying, have a meltdown or run away.
"I'll have a panic attack, feel cold and my vision goes into tunnel vision. When I was at school, during assemblies and awards and things, it felt like people would just clap all the time. It would get so overstimulating for me. Especially in a big echoey room."
However, Hannah doesn't agree with the University of Manchester's action against clapping, instead preferring more focus was put on raising awareness of autistic people. She warned that the frowning on clapping to show approval could "breed resentment" if other students started to develop bad feelings because of it.
Many people have derided the decision. To some it is the latest moment for "Generation Snowflake" to show they lack the resilience to cope. Daily Telegraph writer Laura Freeman cited examples of posts on social media from people who the decision was supposed to be for, suggesting that people liked the ritual of clapping even if they struggled to deal with the sensory overload.
Charlotte Gill of the Daily Mail suggested that frowning on clapping was evidence of universities "turning into religious cults" and railed against her belief that higher education wasn't preparing young people for the real world.
Some of the students from the University of Manchester suggested that the decision had been misreported by the media, saying that they hadn't banned clapping and instead just done it to make events more "inclusive and friendly".
Measures that make people feel more welcome and accommodated should be encouraged and several such schemes have been better received. Supermarkets introducing a "quiet hour" have been lauded whereas asking people to use jazz hands has been mocked. What's the difference?