By Dan Snierson
Updated June 04, 2009 at 04:48 AM EDT

James Franco will no longer deliver the commencement speech at the UCLA College of Letters and Science graduation ceremony on June 12, the university announced today. “I deeply regret not being able to keep my commitment to giving the commencement speech at UCLA’s graduation this year,” Franco said in statement. “Unfortunately the date conflicts with me needing to be on location to begin pre-production on my next film. I wish everyone in the 2009 class the best of luck in all of their future endeavors.” A minor campus controversy ensued several months ago when Franco—who earned an English degree from UCLA in 2008—was announced as a keynoter. An editorial in the student newspaper, The Daily Bruin, questioned the decision (“…we don’t feel he is as esteemed as a commencement speaker of UCLA’s caliber should be”), while a student created a Facebook page in protest, calling him an “average student.” The university is currently seeking an alternate speaker.