Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Justice Studies

First Advisor

Judah Schept

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies

Second Advisor

Travis Linnemann

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies

Third Advisor

Gary W. Potter

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies


Graffiti has communicative value, and it is a medium through which individuals voice their innermost thoughts, concerns, and beliefs. Restroom graffiti or "latrinalia" offers a unique space for graffiti writers to deliver their messages. The sole focus of this paper is to examine the meaning and communicative value of latrinalia as found in the men's restrooms of a medium-sized university. For this study, restrooms in 17 buildings were visited and a total of 965 instances of graffiti were recorded and codified into 14 different categories. The four most common categories of latrinalia were signature, sexual, artistic, and discriminatory. Latrinalia was found written in a number of locations including doors, stall walls, fire alarms, and toilet paper dispensers with the most significant portion placed inside restroom stalls. Latrinalia was created via a variety of tools from writing instruments to sharp objects. A majority of the latrinalia was etched onto surfaces. Relying on symbolic interactionism as a theoretical framework, this study illustrates how latrinalia has meaning and how people use latrinalia as a communicative medium.