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Emory University student sues school for suspension over award-winning AI tool

Emory University student sues school for suspension over award-winning AI tool


An Emory University student is suing the Georgia school after he was suspended for developing an AI tool to help students study, just months after he won top prize in the school's startup competition for the same innovation.

In a lawsuit filed earlier this month in federal court in Atlanta against Emory University, Benjamin Craver, who just finished his junior year, claims the school disciplined him and his co-founders of a program called “8 Ball,” for violating the school's honor code.

The unexpected punishment came months after Emory University encouraged and celebrated students' development of the learning tool, according to court records.

Emory University punishes students for inventing a new learning tool just months after celebrating it.

Craver, 20, and another student developed the idea and an early version of an AI-driven learning tool that will become 8Ball in the fall of 2022. They entered it into a proposal competition at the university's business school.

According to court records, the program they created allowed students to upload course materials to a private server and generate study materials such as flashcards and practice tests.

According to court records, the university's Honor Council argued in January that 8Ball violated school rules because it was designed to help students cheat, highlighting the fact that it was connected to a server where professors posted class materials.

The university's Honor Council determined that 8Ball's developers designed the tool to help students cheat. ERIK S LESSER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Despite winning the contest's top prize, including $10,000 with Eight Ball in March 2023, receiving a story in the school newspaper and having the tool featured on the business school's website, Craver and his co-founders were suspended from Emory University this year for violating the university's honor code, according to court records.

But according to the lawsuit, the Honor Council has not accused Craver or his co-founders of any wrongdoing, nor has it presented any evidence that students were cheating with the eight-ball.

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Emory ultimately suspended Craver for one semester and the summer, barred him from writing his honors thesis, delayed his graduation and potentially affected his future career as a lawyer, Craver argued in court records.

“I was pretty shocked,” Craver told The Wall Street Journal.

Being suspended is essentially a permanent thing on your record, and it's very upsetting because it leaves you with a permanent stain of academic dishonesty.

According to the lawsuit, Craver is seeking a jury trial and $75,000 in damages, which his parents are covering, he told The Wall Street Journal.

He added that he hopes the lawsuit will have an impact on the university, leading them to reverse their decision and remove the suspension from his record.

Emory University did not immediately respond to a request for comment.




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