Disclosure: MyeLearningWorld is reader-supported. We may receive a commission if you purchase through our links.

eLearning Software

Emory Student Sues University for Suspending Him Over AI Tool It Previously Endorsed

Published on:

Photo of author

By Scott Winstead

emory ai lawsuit

An Emory University student is suing the university after being suspended for creating an AI-powered study tool, Eightball, which he claims the university previously endorsed and funded.

Ben Craver, who recently completed his junior year, developed Eightball to help students convert classroom materials into study aids like flashcards and practice tests. The tool, which won Emory’s annual Pitch the Summit competition in 2023, received a $10,000 prize for further development.

Eightball integrates with Canvas, Emory’s learning management system, allowing students to upload course materials directly and generate study aids.

However, Emory’s Honor Council later claimed this integration violated the university’s cheating policies. The school argues that the tool violates their policies because it’s created with the intent to help students cheat.

Despite Emory’s initial support, including publishing a now-deleted article in June 2023 praising Eightball, the council accused Craver and his partner of facilitating cheating, leading to their suspension.

“Our mission is to be an indispensable tool powered by AI that empowers and helps students study—not do their homework or be a cheat sheet,” Eightball co-founder Shaan Bhasin said at the time he was interviewed for the 2023 article.

Craver filed a lawsuit on May 20, alleging Emory knew about Eightball’s capabilities from the beginning and even encouraged its development when Andrea Hershatter, the Senior Associate Dean and BBA Program Director who initiated the summit, facilitated connections between the tool’s creators and Emory alumni entrepreneurs. Furthermore, the founders noted that Anna Errore, Assistant Professor in the Practice of Information Systems and Operations Management, recommended her ISOM 350 class use Eightball for an extra credit assignment.

Craver is seeking $75,000 in damages, asking for the suspension to be overturned, and for the university to cover his legal fees. He says the suspension has delayed his graduation and damaged his reputation.

The lawsuit states that Emory’s Honor Council failed to find any evidence that Eightball was used to cheat. It also claims that Emory’s sudden reversal on Eightball contradicts their initial endorsement and funding of the project.

Vanessa Youshaei, a judge at Pitch the Summit, supported Craver’s complaint, stating that no concerns about cheating were raised during the competition.

Craver’s partner, initially expelled, had his discipline reduced to a one-year suspension. Craver’s lawsuit emphasizes that neither he nor his partner ever misused Eightball, and they were transparent about its functionalities throughout its development.

Craver argues that Emory’s actions were arbitrary and harmful, especially since the university continued to showcase Eightball as a student innovation success story. The original story the university published on its website about the tool even ended with a call to action to encourage readers to explore the school’s business degree programs at the Emory University Goizueta Business School, seemingly using the success of Eightball to promote their academic offerings as seen in the screenshot below:

emory university cta

Craver contends that this highlights a contradiction in the university’s stance—publicly praising the project for its innovative approach while privately penalizing its creators. This discrepancy, he claims, not only undermines the integrity of the university’s accolades but also significantly damages the trust and motivation of student entrepreneurs.

The outcome of Craver’s lawsuit could have significant implications for the integration of AI tools in educational settings, highlighting the ongoing struggle institutions face in balancing technological innovation with academic integrity.

Emory University has yet to comment on the lawsuit.

Leave a Comment