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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — UNCW recently hired an English professor whose previous publications are worrying some parents. Students say although some of the poems are shocking, they do not have a problem with the professor’s risque work, and the university agrees.

Dr. Alex Porco teaches literature and poetry at UNCW. But poetry, papers and articles Porco has published sometimes focus on explicit themes. They have some people upset and questioning his qualifications.

“It’s definitely sexual, and I feel like there might be a deeper meaning, but it’s kind of lost on me,” CFCC student Derrick Fowler said.

Porco wrote a book of poetry dedicated to pornstar Jill Kelly. In a poem entitled “Hot Girl-Girl Action University President Jill Kelly Welcomes This Year’s Freshman Class,” Porco refers to sex with freshmen students.

We went on campus at UNCW Tuesday, but students we spoke with did not want to talk about a professor and pornography. On the website Rate My Professor some students consider when deciding to take courses by a teacher, students give Porco a high rating.

With UNCW students keeping quiet, we showed excerpts of the poems to Cape Fear Community College students to get their reaction. 17-year-old student Haley Melik said she was lost.

“I didn’t get the first one, and the second one was weird,” Melik said.

But another student said he thinks the approach may help Porco connect with his students.

“I’ve noticed that teachers who identify with students better are more typically able to capture the attention of their students and reach them on a different level,” Fowler said.

Porco would not talked to us on camera, and referred us to University Relations.

The university also refused an on-camera interview, but in a statement said, “Dr. Alex Porco, a full-time faculty member in the English Department, was hired based upon his record of scholarship, experience, subject matter expertise, and references. With respect to an employee’s speech or writings external to their employment duties, both are protected by the First Amendment. While some may disagree personally with the content of an individual’s writings, such content constitutes protected speech.”

Comment on this Story

  • CM

    I think after being bombarded with sexuality in music, movies, and television shows from a young age, most college students, unless they have been living under a rock, wouldn’t be terribly bothered by this. Furthermore, I agree with the other posters; this isn’t good journalism if you are having to ask CFCC students about what they think about a UNCW professor. Slow news day, hmm?

    If you think this is bad, well, there’s a tenured English professor by the name of Samuel Delany up at Temple University who is known for writing full length pornographic novels with acts in them that would make the Marquis de Sade blush. Or what about the fact that we have convicted felons like Angela Davis, Ron Karenga, and Bill Ayers teaching in tenured positions in higher education? Now that’s newsworthy.

  • RSimmons

    If you think your college age children can’t handle a sexually explicit poem, You must have a pretty low opinion of your children.

    This sounds more like a headline looking for a story

  • waldo pepper

    Is it your policy to show pornographic stories to girls under 18 as you broadcast in your report. You interviewed and stated you showed the porn to a 17 year old female student.

    Really, was that wise

  • Guest12365484

    Wouldn’t it be illegal to show a 17 year old sexual explicit material?

  • WortyDirds

    “UNCW recently hired an English professor whose previous publications are worrying some parents.”

    (a) It’s a good thing the parents aren’t taking the classes then. If your adult child can’t handle it, don’t enroll in his courses. College isn’t up to parents to decide. It’s a time for the student to become accountable for their own path and curriculum. This is why professors don’t call your parents when there is an issue. The students are adults, they should be able to handle adult content like adults.

    (b) Why are we interviewing CFCC students? Does the professor teach on their campus? NO? Then what’s the relevance here? How does having a student state “I don’t get it” forward the story? Oh, I get it – because there isn’t one. It sounds like the reporter just walked around campus shoving the literature in student’s faces, asking “Isn’t this crazy? OMG SEX!! What do you think about it?!” Gasp! Someone who WRITES for a living wrote about… sex! And they are teaching at a public institution! How scandalous!”

    (c) Here’s something that might actually be news: writers (as the author should know) cover all subjects in the human experience… including drug use, death, and (gasp!) sex. Bob Hicock is a celebrated writer teaching at Virginia Tech, who wrote poems about Pamela Anderson. Does that make these instructors any less qualified to do their job? Who cares about what he writes about as long as he does it (and his job) well? It just seems like WWAY is trying to blow this WAY more out of proportion than need be. It’s not quite the scandal you are hoping for, and you are merely trying to stir the mud around someone’s career just to get a rise out of viewers. I feel bad for this guy that you are even trying to make a story out of this.

    (d) To the author of this “story”: You should be ashamed. Did you even consider writing anything about this instructor’s ability to do his job, or did you just want the general public to come to the conclusion that this person must automatically be unqualified simply because of their subject matter? Did you even mention his qualifications or educational background? Any teaching accolades? Even a quick Google search would turn that up. It’s either purposefully negligent reporting, or just lazy, and either way, you should be embarrassed.

  • Guest2012

    Both the author of this blog piece, and the controversial English Professor get an A+ from me. You got a rise out of people who may not otherwise give a ratsass about poetry. Maybe they will pick up a classic, a novel or a book of poetry.

    Where would we be without Lady Chatterlys Lover?

    WWAY. My grade for you is “Failed journalism 101” this time.

  • Bobbyt

    It is sad that the Star News participates in this kind of journalism. Since the reporter could not find an UNCW student to criticize the First Amendment rights of a professor, the reporter went to a community college to find a critic, even though the CFCC student will never take a course from Porco. This is a non story and schlock journalism at its worst.

  • Guest61246

    Here we go. This is 2013, not 1713. Most of the kids in college, and high school for that matter, have probably already experienced first hand a lot of what is in this man’s work.

  • Erlkoenig

    One should avoid redundancy when writing academic papers, like “creepy, pervert, low-rent liberal”.


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