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Emergency personnel respond to a shooting at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, U.S. Image Credit: Reuters

Vanderbilt University's Peabody College was blasted in an article by the school newspaper after administrators used ChatGPT to write a message about the importance of community after a deadly campus shooting in Michigan.

The Nashville, Tennessee-based school's Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion said in a February 16 email that "creating a safe and inclusive environment is an ongoing process that requires ongoing effort and commitment." A line at the bottom of the five-paragraph email said it had been paraphrased using ChatGPT, an AI text generator.

The email was sent in response to a school shooting earlier this week. A gunman killed three people and injured five others at Michigan State University's campus in East Lansing on Monday night. The suspect was later found dead after apparently taking his own life. There have been 73 mass shootings in the US this year, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive.

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Freshman Martha Chessen took particular umbrage at the use of ChatGPT to write an email about gun violence.

"It's almost as if Vanderbilt sent the email merely out of obligation, rather than a genuine care for the needs of its community," she said. "I'm disappointed in Vanderbilt's lack of empathy toward those suffering from the tragedy."

Laith Kayat, a Vanderbilt senior from Michigan, was one of the students quoted in the school's newspaper, The Vanderbilt Hustler. "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," Kayat told the paper.

OpenAI, the artificial-intelligence research company behind the popular ChatGPT chatbot, has recently come under fire for biases, inaccuracies and inappropriate behavior.

Vanderbilt didn't respond to an after-hours request for comment.