Accused of unauthorized collaboration on a lab? Tips from a defense attorney for students.

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What is Unauthorized Collaboration?

Many schools define unauthorized collaboration as working with another student, or any other person, to complete an assignment without the express permission of the professor. Unauthorized collaboration can apply to any assignment, including lab assignments.

I have collaborated with my lab partner all semester – how is working with someone unauthorized collaboration now?

While a professor may pair you with a lab partner to work on some assignments, other labs may be labeled as individual work. Students should be sure to read the syllabus or even ask the professor if there is a question about collaborating with your lab partner. Even those not specifically labeled as individual could present a problem. Usually, it is the professor’s expectation that student’s will write the lab report on their own. Admittedly, the very nature of lab assignments when paired with another student is tricky to navigate when trying to figure out where the line between authorized vs. unauthorized collaboration lies. When in doubt, ask the professor for guidance.  

How do you defend academic charges of unauthorized collaboration?

The defense strategy depends on the situation and facts of each student. Generally speaking, students should do the following if they are accused of unauthorized collaboration:

  • Get your school handbook and look for the academic disciplinary procedure section.
  • Find the academic disciplinary process and become familiar with the process you may face.
  • Students can also review possible sanctions for the honor code violation they are facing. Sanctions may range from a letter of reprimand to suspension or expulsion.
  • Students should keep any documents that could be important to the case. The course syllabus, notes, emails, and even witness statements from other students could be helpful to building a defense.

Can you help me defend an academic integrity charge of unauthorized collaboration?

Yes. I assist students all over the United States defend against unauthorized collaboration, cheating, and other honor code violations. My expertise in the college disciplinary process gives each student the best chance for success.

Richard Asselta is a student defense lawyer who fights for students facing academic integrity and honor code violations throughout the United States.

Click here to read what clients are saying about Richard Asselta on AVVO, a lawyer review website.

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