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Honor Committee explores AI detection software admissibility, considers community service sanction

The Committee also discussed changes to the Code of Ethics surrounding member compensation

Committee members debated whether AI detection software could fulfill evidentiary requirements.
Committee members debated whether AI detection software could fulfill evidentiary requirements.

The Honor Committee discussed the admissibility of artificial intelligence detectors as evidence for Honor cases, the addition of a community service sanction and changes to the Code of Ethics at their meeting Sunday. While no formal decisions were made, 18 out of 25 members were present, meaning the Committee met quorum and was able to vote on matters concerning the constitution or bylaws. 

According to current Honor bylaws, all evidence must be “necessary to a fair and thorough adjudication of the claims present” in order to be admissible. At Sunday’s meeting, members debated whether AI detection software could fulfill that requirement for admissibility. 

Third-year Law Rep. Daniel Elliott said the admission of AI detection tools into Honor proceedings should be decided on a case-by-case basis, due to the context needed for the use of AI detection tools. 

“My inclination is to think that this is always going to be a situation that is too fact-dependent,” Elliott said. “To me, this sounds like something that has to be handled within each case.”

Last semester, the Committee assembled a Generative AI In Teaching and Learning Task Force, made up of professors, faculty and the Committee chair to help address academic integrity concerns about generative AI. 

After holding various town halls with schools across the University, the task force’s recommendation was to completely prohibit the use of AI detection tools for use in Honor proceedings. As discussed in previous Committee meetings, AI detection programs are hard to perfect and not always reliable. 

ChatGPT is a popular generative artificial intelligence program that functions like a search engine. In the week after its creation, the software gained over 1 million users and has since been used to write academic papers and complete assignments. 

Fourth-year Commerce Rep. Brianna Kamdoum said the Committee should not admit the use of detection tools into Honor proceedings because it would go against the recommendation of the task force. 

“I find that we should stick with what the [GENAI] taskforce has recommended which would be strictly refraining from [using detection tools] and advising faculty to not use detection tools whatsoever,” Kamdoum said. 

Graduate Engineering Rep. Kasra Lekan said a case-by-case process on admissibility would be unsustainable due to the extra time it would take to consider the detection software in the context of each case. Lekan was not completely opposed to detection systems, but he suggested giving instructions on how to consider evidence based on detection systems, which would create a consistent approach for panelists. 

No formal votes on the topic of AI detector admissibility were made, and language regarding admissibility will continue to be developed by the Committee. 

In addition to discussion on AI detector admissibility, the Committee also talked about the possible addition of a community service sanction to the multi-sanction system. The multi-sanction system was passed in a student referendum last semester. Current sanctions include but are not limited to suspension, expulsion, education and amends. 

Hamza Aziz, chair of the Committee and fourth-year College student, outlined what the sanction would entail and how it would be administered by panelists. The tentative sanction would present community service options that sanctioned students could select from. Alternatively, the student could present community service options to the vice chairs directly. 

Second-year Engineering Rep. Alexander Church said that students should self-select community service opportunities for sanctions, assuming that the proposed sanction would be formally approved. Church cited the shortage of service opportunities within the University as their reasoning. 

“I think that if we're going to give the community service sanction, we need to put that responsibility on students,” Church said. “I don't think there's a way during a panel for sanction to be able to confidently say that there will be a community service opportunity [available].”

Church referenced the shortage of community service opportunities at Madison House, an independent volunteer center for students at the University. Madison House often has much more students willing to volunteer than there are opportunities, signaling the lack of viability as a sanction, Church said. 

No formal vote was made and Aziz passed the possibility of a community service sanction on to the Policies and Procedures Committee for them to consider and draft. The Policies and Procedures Committee is a subcommittee of Honor that considers common procedures and recommends changes when necessary. 

The Committee also continued their open forum on updates and amendments to the Code of Ethics, a set of guidelines for Committee members and support officers that has not been updated since 2019.

Under the current Code of Ethics, no Committee member or support officer should accept compensation for performing their duties. Elliott said this definition could be perceived as vague and suggested changing the language to be specifically “monetary” compensation. 

Nishita Ghanate, vice chair for investigations and fourth-year College student, suggested the wording be changed to say “any source” of compensation — in order to fully account for all sources of compensation other than monetary. Elliott agreed with this suggestion. 

These proposed edits will be formally voted on at the next Committee meeting. 

Two-co sponsorships have been approved since the last meeting — one for the selling of third year class rings and one for the triathlon team. Co-sponsorships are where Honor allocates funding to an event or to a Contracted Independent Organization to foster positive interaction between Honor and students. 

The next Honor Committee meeting will be held Sunday at 7 p.m. in the Trial Room of Newcomb Hall. 

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