Latrinalia reveals an unusual safe space for students: Study

The writing on the wall of a bathroom stall is more than graffiti, according to a study published in Innovative Higher Ed; it also offers a unique opportunity to view students’ authentic values, experiences, opinions, and concerns. Studying a woman’s washroom at Edinburgh Napier University, researcher Mabel Victoria found that students used the space to leave each other messages of anonymous encouragement, share their opinions, and give one another advice. When the university painted over the walls, students were outraged, demonstrating that they felt a sense of ownership for the space and resistance to its institutional control. Victoria also noticed that writing and drawings were far less common post-pandemic, marking a potential shift in how and where students communicate. Victoria encourages institutions to consider how non-traditional communications methods could facilitate student conversations in other spaces.

Innovative Higher Education