English department canvass

The detectives interviewed faculty and staff in the Ole Miss English department to learn more about Douglas Reed and his relationships at the university.

The interviews provided are some of the most typical or relevant to the investigation and are representative of all interviews conducted.

Erica Maxwell

Detective Parker: Hello, Dr. Maxwell. I'm Detective Parker, and I wanted to ask you a few questions regarding Douglas Reed.

Dr. Maxwell: Oh yes, hello, detective. Ask away.

Detective Parker: First, can you please state your full name and job title for the record?

Dr. Maxwell: Erica Maxwell, Lecturer in the Department of English at Ole Miss.

Detective Parker: And how long have you been with Ole Miss?

Dr. Maxwell: Almost six years.

Detective Parker: Dr. Maxwell, how well did you know Mr. Reed?

Dr. Maxwell: Not too well, I'm afraid. I had only seen him a few times at faculty meetings and a few department social events.

Detective Parker: What was your overall impression of him?

Dr. Maxwell: Doug was a highly capable young man, driven, perhaps overly ambitious.

Detective Parker: Why do you say that?

Dr. Maxwell: He made sure to befriend the people who could benefit him the most and ignored the rest. The higher-ups in the department, like Professor Wilson, were all fond of him.

Detective Parker: What about the rest of the faculty? What did others in the department think of Mr. Reed?

Dr. Maxwell: Well, I don't want to point fingers, but Carol Fitch, our department's senior secretary, wasn't one of his biggest supporters. My office is right next to the administrative workspace, and several times, I overheard raised voices coming from Doug and Carol.

Detective Parker: Do you know anything about the nature of their arguments?

Dr. Maxwell: It sounded like they were arguing about Jill Osborne, Carol's assistant. Doug had a habit of berating Jill to the point of leaving her in tears. I think Carol was just trying to defend her co-worker.

Detective Parker: Dr. Maxwell, can you think of anyone else who may have had a bone to pick with Mr. Reed?

Dr. Maxwell: Despite his arrogance, I think most of the faculty—those he didn't try to win over—was indifferent to Doug. They didn't especially like or dislike him. Laurence—Bricker, that is—seemed to be the only one immune to Doug's charms.

Detective Parker: Why do you think he was immune?

Dr. Maxwell: Laurence has never had the patience for drama, and 90% of the department's rumors these days were somehow related to Doug's romantic affairs.

Detective Parker: What kind of rumors?

Dr. Maxwell: Doug definitely liked the ladies—most of them anyway—and they liked him. And they like to gossip about him and who he was seeing.

Detective Parker: Who was he seeing?

Dr. Maxwell: A professor in the business school whose name, I'm embarrassed to say, I don't recall. But she wasn't the only one. Some people thought he had something going with a woman from the conference center, but I don't know if that's true.

Detective Parker: I see. How would you characterize Mr. Reed's relationship to his students?

Dr. Maxwell: Fine, I suppose. There was no evidence to the contrary.

Detective Parker: To your knowledge, had Mr. Reed been romantically involved with any students?

Dr. Maxwell: There were rumors, but nothing that I could see. Doug had become rather notorious for his womanizing, although he was careful to keep those habits away from the department.

Detective Parker: Thank you for your time, Dr. Maxwell. You've been a great help. We'll be in touch if we have any more questions.

David Wilson

Detective Murphy: Good afternoon, Professor Wilson. Thank you for meeting me on such short notice.

Dr. Wilson: No problem, detective. Most of the faculty is still on summer break, myself included. And please, call me Dave.

Detective Murphy: If you would be so kind as to state your full name and job title for the record?

Dr. Wilson: Sure. My name is David Wilson, Professor of English at Ole Miss and Director of Graduate Studies.

Detective Murphy: And how long have you been working at Ole Miss?

Dr. Wilson: Next month marks my 22nd year.

Detective Murphy: Quite a good run. Now, Dave, I'm sure by now you've heard about the death of one of your colleagues?

Dr. Wilson: Yes, Doug Reed. Tragic, just tragic. The English department won't be the same without him.

Detective Murphy: How well did you know him?

Dr. Wilson: I was actually the one that took Doug under my wing when he first transferred to Ole Miss. One of his former mentors from Berkeley happens to be a close friend of mine.

Detective Murphy: What was your personal opinion of Douglas Reed?

Dr. Wilson: Well, Doug was a very bright young man, very promising future. Could have made great contributions to our field. He adapted quickly to his new surroundings and was an exceptional professor, which was why I recommended him for the associate professorship.

Detective Murphy: How would you characterize Mr. Reed's relationship with his students?

Dr. Wilson: Doug was quite popular with the students. He was a dynamic lecturer and always made himself available to any who needed help.

Detective Murphy: Did Mr. Reed have any relations with students outside the classroom?

Dr. Wilson: Absolutely not. I'm sure you've heard of the rumors floating around the department, but I can assure you that, knowing Doug as well as I did, he never laid a finger on any of his students.

Detective Murphy: All right. What can you tell me about Mr. Reed's relationship with his co-workers—other faculty members, administrative personnel?

Dr. Wilson: I can't recall Doug ever having a problem with everyone. He was too diplomatic for workplace disputes. Although, there might have been some tension between him and Jake Hemphill after Jake lost the associate professorship to Doug.

Detective Murphy: What kind of tension?

Dr. Wilson: Well, they didn't come to blows, detective. Doug and Jake weren't close, to begin with, but Jake must have had some misgivings about losing his long-sought-after job to a newcomer.

Detective Murphy: Would you happen to know anything of Mr. Reed's personal life?

Dr. Wilson: Doug was dating a professor from another department, though I don't recall the specifics.

Detective Murphy: I think that's all the questions I have, for now, Dave. Thank you for your help. If you think of anything else, please give us a call.


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