Home Artificial Intelligence Emory student sues school for suspension over award-winning AI tool

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

US News

An Emory University student is suing the Georgia college after he was suspended for creating an AI tool to help students study — months after he won the top-prize at the school’s startup competition for the same tech innovation. 

Benjamin Craver, who just completed his junior year, claimed the school punished him and a co-founder of the program, called Eightball, purportedly for violating the school’s honor code, according to a lawsuit filed against Emory in Atlanta federal court earlier this month. 

The unexpected punishments came months after Emory encouraged the students’ development of the study tool — and even celebrated it — court records said.  

A Web page that provides an introduction to the Eightball tool as
Emory punished the students’ behind the study tool months after celebrating their creation. eightball.ai

Craver, 20, and another student developed the idea and an early version of an AI-driven study tool that would become Eightball in Fall 2022. They entered into the university’s business school pitch contest. 

The program they created allowed students to upload course materials to a private server, which would then generate study materials like flashcards or practice exams, according to court records. 

In January, the university’s honor council claimed that Eightball violated school policy because it had been created with the intent to help students cheat, highlighting the fact that it was connected to a server where professors post course material, according to court records.

Sign hangs from a building at Emory University congratulating the graduating class of 2024
The university’s honor council found that Eightball’s creators had designed the tool with the intent to help students cheat. ERIK S LESSER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Despite taking home the competition’s first prize, including $10,000, in March 2023 for Eightball; receiving a write up in the school’s newspaper; and having the tool featured on the business school’s website, Craver and his co-founder were suspended by Emory this year over claims that they had violated the university’s honor code, according to court records.

The honor council, however, did not accuse Craver or his co-founder of cheating, nor provide any evidence that students were using Eightball to cheat, according to the suit. 

Emory ultimately suspended Craver for a semester plus a summer, barring him from writing an honors thesis, delaying his graduation and potentially impacting his future career as a lawyer, he claimed in court records. 

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

“A suspension goes on your permanent record forever, basically. I would always have that mark of academic dishonesty, which is upsetting.”

Craver is seeking a jury trial along with $75,000 in damages, according to the suit, which he told The Journal is being funded by his parents.  

He added that he is also hoping the lawsuit will influence the university to reverse its decision and scrub the suspension from his record.  

Emory did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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