The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
An apology has been issued by Vanderbilt University after students were upset by the thoughtlessness displayed by the university in using ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, to draft a message that was sent to students regarding the recent Michigan State University mass shooting.
DailyMail reports that the email was disseminated by the Peabody Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion on February 16. It encouraged students to “take care of each other” following the occurrence.
Although the message encouraging students to create a supportive environment initially seemed to show compassion, the conclusion of the email noted that it had been auto-generated by the ChatGPT AI language model.
Students noted the hypocrisy of having a computer compose a message of community and compassion rather than a human being.
Vanderbilt Hustler, the student-run newspaper, quoted one Michigan student who was angered, pointing out that the university was more concerned with its image than with actually providing empathy. Other students felt similarly, saying that the email lacked the personal connection that is needed when dealing with a tragic event such as this.
Following the uproar, two deans – Nicole Joseph and Hasina Mohyuddin – stepped down from their positions temporarily while the Peabody EDI investigates, RebelNews reports.
Dean of Education Camilla P. Benbow released a statement saying that the email’s content was not reviewed by any other administrators before it was sent and does not follow the typical standards of the university.
Benbow stated that she was “personally saddened” by the violence at MSU and was regretful that the administration failed to provide a message with personal connection during that time.
Prior to her resignation on February 17, Joseph sent an apology email to students. She acknowledged that the use of ChatGPT was poor judgment and was not aligned with the school’s values
The incident exposed a need for discussion about the use of AI in higher education, and it was suggested that this was an opportunity to reflect on what is known and what still needs to be learned.
The February 13 shooting at Michigan State University resulted in three student deaths, with the shooter, Anthony Dwayne McRae taking his own life.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com