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The Case of Marley Stevens, AKA the Grammarly Girl

Read on to learn about her fight against Grammarly, AI allegations, and conduct probation.
Faith Forrester

Run, don’t walk, away from using spellchecker extensions for proofreading your assignments, Marley Stevens, a junior human services delivery and administration major at the UNG Dahlonega Campus says.

“I didn’t think posting it on TikTok would fix it for me with the school in any way, but AI is really getting integrated into everything, and so I wanted to warn other people like, ‘hey if you’re gonna do this, talk to your professors every semester, ask them specific questions,’ ” she told Fox 5 Atlanta.

According to her TikTok post from Dec. 12, 2023, Stevens said she was told by the school that she was “unintentionally cheating” by using Grammarly’s generative AI checker to proofread her criminal justice essay.

More on Marley Stevens’ Situation

Stevens said her professor used Turnitin and it was flagged for AI usage, and then they reported her. This resulted in the Office of Student Integrity putting Stevens on conduct probation, according to Stevens. Also, according to Stevens’ TikTok from Feb. 16, 2024, the conduct committee put her on one year of conduct probation and is requiring her to take a seminar about cheating and academic honesty. Stevens posted a TikTok video saying the committee came to that decision because the Turnitin report supported the allegations that she used AI on her assignment.

According to, this means that “any further conduct violation may result in suspension or expulsion.” It also might affect a student’s ability to participate in student organizations and/or university activities.

Stevens said in a TikTok video on December 7, 2023 that her professor would not let her see her Turnitin or third-party AI checker website report showing what percentage of AI/plagiarism it contained.

UNG’s response

Clark Leonard, director of news & communications at UNG provided a statement from UNG:

Because of federal laws that protect the privacy of student education records (FERPA), UNG cannot discuss information regarding a student’s academic standing, or any other academic processes. Our faculty are committed to academic excellence and are dedicated to teaching and engaging students in a lifetime of learning.  Our faculty members communicate specific guidelines regarding the use of AI for various classes, and those guidelines are included in the class syllabi. The inappropriate use of AI is also addressed in our Student Code of Conduct. 

In a TikTok from Feb. 15, 2024, Stevens said, “Allegedly the thing I’m being charged for is plagiarism and outside use, outside help without prior authorization from the professor.”

The Student Code of Conduct says plagiarism is the “use of another person or agency’s (to include Artificial Intelligence) ideas or expressions without acknowledging the source.” UNG explains that plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, paraphrasing or direct quotations, of the published or unpublished works of someone else, without their consent.

“It [plagiarism] also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency in the selling of term papers or other academic materials,” UNG policy says.

The Vanguard reached out to Leonard to try to get in contact with UNG Policy & Procedure Coordinator Wesley Burnett to find out whether UNG plans on updating the Student Conduct policies. Leonard says Burnett will not comment at this time.

Turnitin: Is Grammarly AI detected?

According to, it does not detect Grammarly spell-checking modifications as AI, unless it is a GrammarlyGo altered text, which is a generative AI writing tool. In the Q&A section, it says:

7. If students use Grammarly for grammar checks, does Turnitin detect it and flag it as AI?

No. Our detector is not tuned to target Grammarly-generated spelling, grammar, and punctuation modifications to content but rather, other AI content written by LLMs such as GPT-3.5. Based on initial tests we conducted on human-written documents with no AI-generated content in them, in most cases, changes made by Grammarly (free & premium) and/or other grammar-checking tools were not flagged as AI-written by our detector. Please note that this excludes GrammarlyGo, which is a generative AI writing tool and as such content produced using this tool will likely be flagged as AI-generated by our detector.

Stevens mentioned in one of her videos from early on in the case that she is not able to see the report of what percentage AI or plagiarism Turnitin detected.

So, we tried our hand at detecting AI from a professor’s point of view. We used the free Grammarly website to proofread a text and then submitted it to D2L. It came back as, 0% similarity.

Students are unable to see things from a professor’s perspective on D2L when it comes to Turnitin features.

Stevens also said in a TikTok from Feb. 15, 2024, that her professor used a third-party website called to confirm what Turnitin allegedly said about her assignment.

Here’s what professors see in D2L when they use Turnitin.

Professional Opinion on Turnitin and AI

Associate Professor of English, Dr. Miriam Moore is a point of contact for Linguistics and studies in English language learning minors on the Gainesville Campus.

She says that she has never used Grammarly herself, but she recently found out that the premium version included AI features. She says she saw no issues with students using the free version to help with editing because “it’s certainly a strategy some professionals might use.”

Moore also said that she does not use Turnitin or use a specific tool to detect AI or plagiarism. She says she stopped using Turnitin because “published reports from outside the AI companies do not rate these very highly for accuracy.” She said she also has concerns for student privacy and is unsure how these detection tools safeguard that.

“My students expect me to respond to and assess their writing; they do not expect a machine to do this for me,” she says.

She says her method is to look for visible changes, or “a sense that something’s off, differences in font size/style, and clearly hallucinated ‘facts’ or ‘quotes’ as pointers that AI might have been involved.” Her process, she says, would be just to talk to the student, “I have found in some cases that they admit to having used various tools without realizing these might not be considered appropriate.”

How sad (and ironic) that as both students and teachers adopt various tools for constructing synthetic texts, we could potentially see compositions created by machines and then assessed by machines.  For me, that is NOT what education or writing instruction is all about. – Dr. Miriam Moore

UNG Press Managing Editor, Corey Parson, is taking a course titled “Generative AI for Business with Microsoft Azure OpenAI.” She says AI does not make a good proofreader without human intervention. “AI does not understand many things including nuance, sarcasm, etc. That is why it is imperative for a human being to check any AI output,” she says.

Students speak about AI and Grammarly

Students from all over are getting involved in helping Stevens get funding for a lawyer.

Marley, I’m so ready for you to fight them hard on this. You’re doing amazing. Love from the UK – Rivka Uttle, who made a $25 donation to Stevens’ gofundme.

Ava-Grace Morgan, a UNG junior marketing major, says, “I feel like the student should not have been penalized at all for the use of Grammarly. I do not agree that Grammarly is the same as using AI. While AI may expand on or revise a student’s ideas, Grammarly simply provides clarity for the sake of eloquence.”

One student who asked to remain anonymous says, “Maybe if you are going to put students on probation for using Grammarly, your website shouldn’t list in on the school’s website as a tool.”

The student then sent this snapshot (see picture on the right) of the grammar and style tools.

Timeline of events and recent updates

TikTok from Dec. 7, 2023

Stevens shares an email exchange with the Department Head of Criminal Justice, Douglas A. Orr, who says, “Since you were warned in the syllabus not to use AI, we are wondering why it was initialized in Grammarly.”

TikTok from Dec. 7, 2023

Stevens said her professor would not let her see her Turnitin or third-party AI checker website report showing what percentage of AI/plagiarism it contained.

TikTok from Dec. 14, 2023

Grammarly comments on a post by saying, “We’re so sorry to hear this, Marley. Grammarly has reached out to your university admin to understand more on their AI policies.”

TikTok from Jan. 8

“What I am officially being charged with is plagiarism; I don’t know how I could plagiarize my own words, because as I said before I wrote the whole paper and it just checked my spelling and my punctuation. But, that’s what he’s charging me with,” Stevens says.

Update from Feb. 13

“Allegedly, the thing I’m being charged for is plagiarism and outside use, outside help without prior authorization from the professor,” Stevens says.

Update from Feb. 15

TikTok user “Katie” says, “Dealing with a false AI accusation and a zero on an assignment right now. It’s so incredibly defeating. Hope it all works out for you ❤️.”

The professor used a website called to confirm what Turnitin said. Stevens says she ran it through the same website to see what it said and it said, “This is human text.”

“If nothing else, that just proves how inaccurate AI detectors are, because if he ran this through this website in October and it supposedly did say that it was AI written and I’m now running it through again in February, and it gives a completely different answer…” Stevens says.

Update from Feb. 16

Stevens says she got a letter from the Office of Student Integrity saying she was  on one year of conduct probation and has to take a seminar about cheating and academic honesty. The committee said it came to that decision because the Turnitin report supported the allegations that she used AI on her assignment, according to Stevens.

Update from Feb. 21

Stevens created a GoFundMe for a lawyer based on many TikTokers’ advice.

Update from Feb. 21

Stevens says Grammarly reached out about having an online chat with Stevens about what is happening with UNG.

“I also want to reiterate I do not think Grammarly is the problem here. Grammarly is not at fault for this, if anything, Turnitin is the problem,” Stevens says.

Update from Feb. 22

According to her TikTok comment on Feb. 22, 2024, Stevens had someone comment “There has to be a lawyer that is willing to defend this. This is such a easy case.” To which she replied, “I got one!”

Update from Feb. 24

Stevens says Grammarly donated $4,000 to her GoFundMe and offered her a spot in their paid influencer partnership.


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  • S

    SteveMar 5, 2024 at 10:25 am

    I am not a lawyer, but IMHO she should have the right to see the evidence used by the professor (e.g., Turnitin results) so that she could construct a defense. In other words, I believe she was denied due process and “convicted” solely on the professor’s word. I pray that this will be rectified and her name cleared. As a NG alumnus, I am proud of our beloved college, but I am saddened to learn that this student was unfairly labeled a “plagarist” for “unintentionally cheating”. UNG, I applaud you for having integrity standards, but you should NOT deny any student the right to defend themselves in a fair and impartial hearing. That is my $0.02.

  • C

    Carrie LumleyMar 1, 2024 at 9:18 am

    This is a great article! Much more thorough and easy to follow than many others I’ve seen! I appreciate the timeline and student/faculty opinions. Great work, gives me hope for the future of journalism.
    Thanks Again,
    Grammerly Girls Momma

  • K

    KBFeb 29, 2024 at 6:34 pm

    Well done! This is a very interesting and debatable subject, on multiple points.

  • F

    FrankFeb 29, 2024 at 2:59 pm

    This is getting out of hand. Someone needs to put a stop to the madness. Thanks for your article.

  • N

    NikFeb 29, 2024 at 2:24 pm

    Great article!

  • R

    ReeFeb 29, 2024 at 2:21 pm

    AI is taking over. Thank you for this insightful article reminding us of the dangers of AI.