NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Officials at Vanderbilt are apologizing and investigating after a university office sent a message to students using the artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT.
Last week, the university’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion sent an email to faculty, students, and staff after the deadly shooting at Michigan State University.
According to Camilla P. Benbow, the Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development for Vanderbilt Peabody, the email encouraged the community to come together to “reaffirm our commitment to caring for one another in the wake of the shooting at Michigan State University.”
It also included language that indicated it was “a paraphrased version of a communication drafted using Open AI’s ChatGPT,” Benbow said in a statement.
The next day, Benbow said, the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Nicole M. Joseph, sent a follow-up email apologizing for her office’s “error in judgment” in using ChatGPT for an email “intended to reflect on a tragedy.”
“The development and distribution of the initial email did not follow Peabody’s normal processes providing for multiple layers of review before being sent,” Benbow said in her statement. “The university’s administrators, including myself, were unaware of the email before it was sent.”
Benbow’s office is launching a review of what led to the email being sent. During this time, Joseph and Assistant Dean Hasina Mohyuddin will “step back from their responsibilities with the EDI office.”
“As dean of the college, I remain personally saddened by the loss of life and injuries at Michigan State, which I know have affected members of our own community,” she said in closing. “I am also deeply troubled that a communication from my administration so missed the crucial need for personal connection and empathy during a time of tragedy. I intend that we shall redouble our efforts to express the values that animate our mission and lead to human flourishing. And I offer my heartfelt apologies to all those who deserved better from us and did not receive it.”
Three students were killed and five more were injured in a shooting at Michigan State University in East Lansing earlier this month. The man police identified as the suspect took his own life when police confronted him afterward.