Black Panther star Winston Duke was set to be the final fall semester speaker for the University Lecture Series (ULS) but canceled abruptly.
The coordinators from the Center for Student Involvement (CSI) said were taken by surprise when they received a call from his agent last Wednesday stating he was canceling his appearance due to a scheduling conflict with a movie he is filming.
ULS announced the news the following day on social media stating, “due to recent additions to his filming schedule, Winston Duke has canceled his lecture at USF on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018.”
Sabrina Alt, a graduate assistant for CSI, said ULS is going back to the drawing board to see if rescheduling is an option.
“That’s the con of working with movie stars or artists,” Alt said. “You never really know what their schedule can look like, so we’re just waiting to hear back from his agent and seeing if it can still be possible.”
Duke’s contract and the $30,000 he would have received for speaking at ULS are on hold until a new date is set. There is a possibility Duke would be an extra speaker along with the three to five people for the spring lineup, though nothing has been finalized, according to Alt.
If Duke cancels completely, his contract would be voided and ULS would use the money to fund another speaker. Alt said ULS will send a spring student survey which will entail a list of new speaker options as well as a mix of people that were on the fall survey if a permanent cancellation is a reality.
Alt said ULS chose Duke because of the 300 votes he accumulated on the student survey and they knew students would be excited about his appearance.
Even though the news came as a shock for ULS, Alt said students have been understanding of the unforeseen circumstances.
“People were really excited about Winston (Duke) which is why we were bummed when we got the call, but students have been understanding that there are some things that are out of the ULS’ control,” Alt said. “We can’t really do anything about him making a movie, so we are just hoping we’re still able to have him here.”