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Caught using ChatGPT at University – What to do

The rise of ChatGPT has brought awareness of AI to the public, and people are now realising ways of utilising it to improve efficiency, automate processes and simplify research (amongst many other uses).

Due to there being so many ways of utilising ChatGPT, institutions are becoming increasingly aware of its existence and are developing safeguards to protect against individuals using it for dubious purposes. In the past few months, there has been an influx of cases where students have been caught using ChatGPT to write essays and dissertations for them.

If you are someone who has been caught using ChatGPT at university to do work on your behalf, or if you have been accused of such, our solicitors are here to help. Whilst this may not immediately appear a serious issue, these allegations can have a lasting effect on your academic career and future prospects, so it’s incredibly important to seek legal advice as quickly as possible if this happens to you.

Our solicitors are experts in this field and will take the time to investigate your circumstances and provide tailored legal advice for your situation.

At Nelson Guest we represent students and academics across a full range of legal issues, including:

  • Plagiarism
  • Cheating, including having unauthorised materials or devices during an exam
  • Falsifying documents or forging an academic record
  • Academic dishonesty, such as attempts to bypass plagiarism software
  • Impersonating a student or having an individual impersonate you
  • Unauthorised collusion with other individuals to produce academic work
  • Buying essays to pass off as your own
  • The use of AI in academics

Is ChatGPT considered cheating?

For the majority of academic institutions, the use of AI for academic purposes would be considered academic misconduct, with punishments varying from mild to severe depending on the circumstances.

The University of Cambridge has issued a statement clarifying its stance on the use of ChatGPT: “Content produced by AI platforms, such as ChatGPT, does not represent the student’s own original work so would be considered a form of academic misconduct to be dealt with under the University’s disciplinary procedures.”

It is crucial that you thoroughly investigate your university’s policy on this, so you are completely aware of the potential repercussions in the event that you were caught using AI.

Can I use ChatGPT for university work?

Using AI for academic purposes is generally considered academic misconduct in the majority of academic institutions, and the severity of punishments may vary depending on the specific circumstances.

To avoid any negative consequences, it is vital to thoroughly research and understand your school's policy regarding the use of AI. It is also incredibly important to familiarise yourself with the guidelines and regulations in place, ensuring you are fully aware of the potential repercussions if you are discovered using AI for academic purposes.

Our solicitors are experts in this field and are able to provide legal advice regarding the use of ChatGPT for university work, including those who have been accused of this type of academic misconduct.

Can ChatGPT be detected by universities?

Presently, it is possible for universities to identify ChatGPT using various software and detectors. Despite being a relatively recent model, certain AI detection software has made significant advancements in this regard. GPTZero is a prevalent detection tool known for its remarkable accuracy. Additionally, various GPT detectors, such as Originality Ai, are available, both as free and paid options.

The commonly used plagiarism checker Turnitin also possesses the capability to identify AI-assisted writing as well as content generated by tools like ChatGPT. Turnitin is a renowned and commonly used plagiarism checker designed to thoroughly analyse submitted work and ensure its authenticity.

Universities and educators now have a convenient means to examine students' work and assess the originality of its content. With Turnitin's ChatGPT Screening, all content produced through an AI chatbot can be scrutinised and the originality of content can be detected right from its inception. In addition to identifying AI-generated content, Turnitin also generates reports that highlight instances of plagiarism.

How do I prove I didn't use ChatGPT?

As the use of AI is a relatively new phenomenon, it can be difficult to prove or disprove that someone used ChatGPT in their work, even with the latest ai detectors. In the event that you are accused of using ChatGPT to write your academic work, our recommendation would be to seek legal advice before making any comments, as anything you say could be used against you.

Our solicitors are at hand to provide such legal advice promptly and will make sure you are fully prepared and have the best defence possible.

How can we help?

At Nelson Guest, our solicitors have years of experience in defending clients against claims of academic misconduct. With the rise of AI recently, we are in the best possible position to defend your academic integrity and possess the highest level of knowledge regarding these matters.

In the event that you are accused of academic misconduct, our expert solicitors will liaise with the related academic body and do their utmost to convince them to drop all charges where possible.

In a situation where this is not possible, we will work diligently to help establish a strong defence on your behalf, whilst assisting you in preparation for any interviews or hearings that you may be required to attend. If possible, we will attend these alongside you to provide personal and legal support.

Contact our solicitors

If you are facing allegations of academic misconduct and require legal advice or assistance, our solicitors will be happy to help. We have years of experience defending clients in this area and will do everything in our power to build you a robust case to protect your academic integrity and reputation.

Our solicitors will provide tailored advice for your specific situation and will keep you updated throughout the entire process, letting you know should anything change.

To get in contact with a member of our team, call us on 020 8309 5010 or fill in our easy-to-use enquiry form.