Students pushed to spend a penny

September 5, 2003

Students do not want to be encouraged to spend a penny when they visit campus toilets. After a 15-year funding squeeze, Canadian universities are using washroom advertising to raise revenue, writes Caroline Davis.

But research reveals that students find these adverts an invasion of privacy and a symbol of increased commercialisation and corporate power.

Fiona Green, women's studies coordinator at the University of Winnipeg, spent 18 months studying female students' attitudes to washroom advertising. She will deliver her paper at a conference "Sex Object: desire and design in a gendered world", at Norwich School of Art and Design next week.

She said: "Women are clearly unhappy about having ads in the toilet stall.

Some have criticised Mazda for its often sexist approach to selling cars with lengthy rebuttals, or a simple 'Maz-duh!' written across the billboard."

In 2000, the University of Montreal earned C$100,000 (£46,000) from washroom advertising.

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