University deans used ChatGPT to console students

Vanderbilt University issued an apology after two deans used AI to address the mass shooting at Michigan State University

Officials from a US university have formally apologized to outraged students after it was revealed that two deans had used AI to craft a consoling email that addressed the recent mass shooting at Michigan State University. 

Last week, administrators at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development sent out a letter to students and staff which stressed the importance of creating “a safe and inclusive environment for all.” It also urged college members to “come together as a community” and “promote a culture of respect and understanding.”  

The email was sent after three people were killed and five other injured in a shooting incident at Michigan State University on February 14. 

However, the deans who signed the message, Nicole Joseph and Hasina Mohyuddin, added a small-print sentence at the bottom which stated that it was a “paraphrase from OpenAI’s ChatGPT AI language model, personal communication.” 

The Peabody letter also did not include any mention of campus resources that students could access to help them process their emotions, unlike other emails sent out by university officials. 

“There is a sick and twisted irony to making a computer write your message about community and togetherness because you can’t be bothered to reflect on it yourself,” wrote one senior student to the Vanderbilt Hustler – the university’s student paper.