Holly Taylor, the associate director of Student Affairs, is a key faculty member involved in Greek life conduct investigations at Lehigh. Her job is to ensure the process goes smoothly and fairly.
Taylor has worked at Lehigh for five years and worked at University of North Carolina-Wilmington and Western Carolina University before settling and finding her home here. She is in charge of providing the process for the Code of Conduct if a student or organization is charged with violating or found guilty regarding anything outlined in the university guidelines.
Taylor said she loves her job.
“Meeting with students is easily the best part,” she said. “I am also a huge nerd for policy and law so I love being able to be at the table when policies are decided.”
As the climate of Greek culture changes on campus and across the country, Taylor’s approach to student conduct adjusts.
“I think that especially being in Pennsylvania, the world is changing,” Taylor said. “Where in the past, professional staff members could chalk up minor violations to simple mistakes, whereas now there is more gravity to everything. With the Tim Piazza hazing law, we have to take every report super seriously. It has heightened everyone’s emotions lately.”
With new changes, she said she believes there is a struggle with the definition of “tradition” because the way students perceive tradition in Greek houses and the way the university perceives tradition is different, particularly when it comes to impressions on first year students.
Chris Mulvihill, the associate Dean of Students, works with Taylor in more extreme cases.
“Simply, she is the reason our office runs as well as it does,” Mulvihill said. “She is ethical, she is honest, she is efficient. She does all that while still being concerned with the educational process.”
While the two collaborate on more complicated cases, Mulvihill said Taylor works well on her own and does the bulk of the case management. Due to her nature of involvement in the case, Mulvihill himself has to handle the resolution method.
For him, when it comes to conduct, it’s about doing what’s right.
“We are playing the long game here,” he said. “Long term survival of this community means holding people accountable that don’t want to be held accountable.”
Even though some chapters have been dissolved in recent years, Taylor believes that Lehigh is not moving away from Greek life but rather trying to find chapters that stand for high ideals and create a safe environment for their members.
“I think that Lehigh is willing to move away from chapters that are unwilling to make positive changes, but that is not the goal,” Taylor said. “It is really terrible for everyone to lose a chapter, and I love so many students that are in now-dissolved chapters.”
Taylor not only works with Mulvihill and other members of the Student Conduct Office, but also with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, the study abroad program, the Office of First-Year Experience and others.
Nicole Burke, the associate director of the Office of First-Year Experience, is one of the faculty members Taylor has collaborated with to provide students with access to a safe and fulfilling education.
“I think Holly is an amazing professional, and I think she does her job really well,” Burke said. “She is really attentive to her work and puts a lot of effort into everything she does and makes sure she isn’t only serving the university, but specifically the students.”
Despite the nature of her job, Taylor is optimistic about Greek life’s future at Lehigh and said she is happy to discuss any change in policy with students. In early March, Ricardo Hall, the vice provost for Student Affairs, released a “10-point plan for Greek Life Excellence,” to which several Greek members responded to.
“You want to talk policy and don’t like it? Tell me about it, and let’s talk through it,” she said. “I am always happy to just be there for the students, to just show up.”
All six Greek individuals contacted for this story, who hold or have held leadership positions within the Greek community, declined to comment.