University of Tampa faculty weighs potential action against students using popular AI chatbot

A University of Tampa spokesman says faculty are holding discussions about the increasingly prevalent artificial intelligence (AI) technology called ChatGPT and how to deal with it.

The comments are in response to questions from FOX 13 to school districts and universities across Tampa Bay about whether leaders are taking active measures to limit student access to the Chatbot on academic networks, servers, and devices.

This month, FOX Business highlighted the increasing number of school districts that are restricting students from accessing ChatGPT. The bot can respond to prompts on demand, such as writing complex essays. The free tool powered by tech startup OpenAI is raising fears that students will use this technology to cheat.

Screenshot from ChatGPT

After ChatGPT was released on Nov. 30, Los Angeles Unified District blocked students’ access to the technology on networks and devices to "protect academic honesty while a risk/benefit assignment is conducted." New York City, Baltimore County, Loudon County in Virginia, and Montgomery County in Alabama were among the next school districts to join Los Angeles in restricting students from accessing the chatbot.

"UT’s Center for Teaching and Learning is hosting discussions (about AI chatbots) this semester," said University of Tampa spokesman Eric Cardenas. "Of course, it is already the case that submitting work that is not one's own, regardless of source, is a violation of UT’s academic integrity policy."

In Hillsborough County's public schools, "the district’s content filter provider already has ChatGPT categorized and blocked on all district devices," according to a spokesperson.