Peabody EDI deans to temporarily step back following ChatGPT-crafted message about MSU shooting

Associate Dean of EDI Nicole Joseph previously sent an apology message to the Peabody community.


Laura Vaughan

Students cross Magnolia Lawn on Peabody campus with the Wyatt Center in the background, captured on Nov. 4, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Laura Vaughan)

Aaditi Lele, News Editor

Nicole Joseph, associate dean of Peabody College’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and Hasina Mohyuddin, assistant dean of the office, will temporarily step back from their positions, according to a Feb. 18 email to the Peabody community. The pair responded to the Michigan State University shooting in a Feb. 16 email to the Peabody community written using ChatGPT.

In the Feb. 18 email, Peabody Dean Camilla Benbow stated that her office would be conducting a review of what led to the initial message being sent. The email directs students to Professor Duane Watson for “assistance” during the review.

Benbow said in the email that the crafting and distribution of the initial email did not follow Peabody’s typical process of review for communications.

“The university’s administrators, including myself, were unaware of the email before it was sent,” Benbow said in the Feb. 18 email. 

Benbow further stated she was “personally saddened” by the loss of life at MSU and that Peabody would “redouble [their] efforts” to uphold its values.

“I am also deeply troubled that a communication from my administration so missed the crucial need for personal connection and empathy during a time of tragedy,” Benbow said in the email. “And I offer my heartfelt apologies to all those who deserved better from us and did not receive it.” 

Joseph and Moyhuddin did not respond to The Hustler’s request for comment.