James Franco Fares Better at Harvard Than UCLA

March 20, 2009

James Franco's film credits in Milk, Pineapple Express and other works earned him "Man of the Year" honors this year from Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Theatricals. But students at Franco's alma mater, the University of California at Los Angeles, are protesting his selection as this year's commencement speaker. Franco graduated last year, but not all the seniors like what they remember of him. A Facebook group -- UCLA Students Against James Franco as Commencement Speaker -- explains the issue this way: "Anyone who has been in his classes knows he is an average student at UCLA. This is an accomplishment while working in his industry, but he is our academic peer, which makes him an inappropriate choice for a keynote speaker. His academic experiences are too limited thus far to provide him with the wisdom and perspective such a speaker is meant to provide to graduates. Furthermore, we have worked hard as academics for four years: his successes are (thus far) completely irrelevant to that!" Not everyone agrees. A counter-group on Facebook -- Students Against UCLA Students Against James Franco as Commencement Speaker -- says that having a peer speak should be seen as a plus. Further, the pro-Franco group asks: "What's wrong with being 'an average student'? One of the comments made in that group reads 'Unless he's got a 4.0, then he shouldn't be speaking at our graduation' and there are several others with that same sort of idea. Many others treat his films as laughable and completely irrelevant to anything a keynote speaker should have to say. These UCLA students should have more respect for the arts and shouldn't be so pretentious about it."

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