Hong Kong university student claims that an AI detector accused him of plagiarism, but he had merely used ChatGPT. Image source: Getty

A Uni Student Who Used Grammarly While Writing Essay Was Falsely Accused Of Plagiarism by AI

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A university student from Hong Kong claims to have been accused of using ChatGPT to plagiarise a Uni assignment. Problem was, the student had merely used Grammarly.

The anonymous student from Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), one of Asia’s top liberal arts universities, shared his story on Dcard, Taiwan’s largest forum for youths. They claim that their recent use of the popular English language-checking software Grammarly had landed them in unwanted trouble.

The student wrote:

“My English hasn’t always been good, so I often use Grammarly to clean up my work. However, [recently], my professor told me that an AI detector claimed that my assignment was generated by AI. He said that I’m being suspected of plagiarism. [The professor] said that even if it’s Grammarly and not AI, the university’s announcement states that what constitutes plagiarism doesn’t necessarily have to be an AI tool.”

“I was wondering if others here have experienced this sort of situation, because the assignment is truly my own idea. The professor said that the university will have a meeting first to discuss, but now I feel like I’m being accused of having zero integrity… I’m so afraid that I’d be committing academic dishonesty…”

AI use in university

The HKBU student’s case is not the first of its kind. In May, a professor from Texas A&M Commerce University came under fire for a similar reason.

In that instance, A&M professor Dr. Jared Mumm claimed that all his students had used ChatGPT to cheat, and threatened to bar them from graduating. Later, it was revealed that Dr. Mumm had treated ChatGPT as a plagiarism checker and erroneously copied and pasted his students’ assignments into the AI chatbot.

It is not known which AI detector was used by the HKBU professor. Nonetheless, hours after the post was shared, other students came together and slammed the university’s alleged academic integrity policy.

A student from Hong Kong University wrote: “Crazy… Grammarly doesn’t even change the content [of an assignment]. Even this needs a warning? Instead of putting someone under suspicion for using AI, can the school improve its AI detector?”

Another student from the Chinese University of Hong Kong shared that they experienced “the same problem.” They wrote: 

“I was also accused of using AI to plagiarise… and was called to a hearing. The only solution is to sincerely apologise and at the same time stress that you were only [using Grammarly] to check your grammar,”

“… there’s still a lot of controversy [over AI use in university]… but I think there’s still room to beg for sympathy. But be prepared for a downgrade or even a fail grade,” they added.

The Chainsaw has reached out to HKBU for comment.