An unknown person put up a sign on Wednesday morning that covered the name of the USC School of Architecture at the entrance of Watt Hall. The sign covered the last word of the "School of Architecture" with "Broken Plotters." It was later taken down.

Students believe that the sign-hanger was expressing her or her frustration with the school's plotter issues.

Plotters are printers for vector graphics, and they are crucial for the work of architecture students. Bachelor of Architecture is a five-year program at USC, and each year has its own studio. Each studio has two plotters, but many students complain they are often broken.

"There are like ten plotters in the whole school, which isn't enough already. And now I think eight of them are broken. Only two plotters are not really enough when everyone's [work] has to be printed [for review] by 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday," fourth-year architecture student Rachel Alexander said.

According to the USC website, the architecture school has 500 undergraduate students and 200 Graduate students.

First-year architecture student Jiaqi Han shared similar frustration. "People are frustrated when plotters are broken. They have to run to other studios to fight for plotters. It happens quite often," she said."The plotters rarely get fixed on time. I don't know why my school is so poor that they can't buy some better machines."

A broken plotter in the first-year students’ studio (Photo courtesy to Olivia Yin)
A broken plotter in the first-year students’ studio (Photo courtesy to Olivia Yin)

Zi Wang is a second-year transfer architecture student. She said during her time at the Pratt Institute, there was a designated center at the school of architecture there for students to print their works. The center also had staff routinely maintained the plotters.

Wang said during the time at USC, she rarely saw both plotters worked in her studio. She said there is always one plotter broken, and sometimes both of them are out of order.

A plotter in the second-year students’ studio is out of ink. (Photo courtesy to Olivia Yin)
A plotter in the second-year students’ studio is out of ink. (Photo courtesy to Olivia Yin)

Wang said she thought that the plotter issue here at USC is not the machine but the management. "Students load and unload their papers by themselves. There are just too many hands on the machine, so they are more likely to be broken," she said. "there is no position specifically for plotter maintenance. We have to wait [a] long time for them to be fixed."

A plotter in the second-year students’ studio. Wang said the ink spilled long time ago. (Photo courtesy to Olivia Yin)
A plotter in the second-year students’ studio. Wang said the ink spilled long time ago. (Photo courtesy to Olivia Yin)

Wang also said last month, Dean Milton Curry held a student forum to discuss a variety of matters at the school. According to Wang, the forum spent thirty minutes on complaints about the plotters.

Annenberg Media reached out to the dean office today. Curry said he is aware of the issue. "I'm in direct conversation with students and staff about student concerns regarding the access and availability to large-format printers maintained by the school," he said.