Appropriate Use of ChatGPT and Similar AI Tools

With the emergence of ChatGPT and other AI tools, many members of our community are eager to explore their use in the university context. This advisory provides guidance on how to use these tools safely, without putting institutional, personal, or proprietary information at risk. Additional guidance may be forthcoming as circumstances evolve.

Allowable Use:

Prohibited Use:

  • At present, any use of ChatGPT should be with the assumption that no personal, confidential, proprietary, or otherwise sensitive information may be used with it. In general, student records subject to FERPA, and any other information classified as Protection Level P2, P3, or P4 should not be used. 

  • Similarly, ChatGPT should not be used to generate output that would be considered non-public. Examples include, but are not limited to, proprietary or unpublished research; legal analysis or advice; recruitment, personnel or disciplinary decision making; completion of academic work in a manner not allowed by the instructor; creation of non-public instructional materials; and grading. 

  • Please also note that OpenAI explicitly forbids the use of ChatGPT and their other products for certain categories of activity, including fraud and illegal activities. This list of items can be found in their usage policy document

Additional Guidance:

For further guidance on the use of ChatGPT for teaching and learning, please see Understanding AI Writing Tools and their Uses for Teaching and Learning at UC Berkeley from Research, Teaching & Learning.

Rationale for the Above Guidance:

UPDATE 7/1/2023: The University of California recently renegotiated the UC systemwide agreement with Microsoft to include Microsoft Azure OpenAI. UC Berkeley is currently working with Microsoft to establish how to use this service under UC’s agreement. [Note: For questions regarding the approved use of Microsoft's Azure's Open AI service, please consult with the Privacy Office at]

As of September 2023, the University of California's agreements with the parent companies of ChatGPT and other generative AI services, which include our terms and conditions, Appendix Data Security and other privacy protections, do not cover the use of ChatGPT or other similar generative AI services. The UC Office of the President is working on this issue. We hope to see this addressed in the near future and will update this guidance when additional information is available.

Personal Liability: ChatGPT uses a click-through agreement. Click-through agreements, including OpenAI and ChatGPT terms of use, are contracts. Individuals who accept click-through agreements without delegated signature authority may face personal consequences, including responsibility for compliance with terms and conditions. [1]

Guidance on Appropriate Use

For questions regarding the appropriate use of ChatGPT and other AI tools, please contact


Additional Readings