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Statement on OPA game

Baldwin Wallace acquired Olmsted Performing Arts (OPA) on January 1, 2019 as part of a vision to expand our arts education outreach. Late on Thursday, February 14, BW Community Arts School (CAS) was notified about a potentially offensive listing for a party game posted on the old OPA website under previous OPA management. CAS reviewed the listing, found it to be inappropriate and in clear conflict with the values of the University, and immediately removed it from the OPA website.

The exact wording that appeared and was removed read, "President: There is one president with body guards. Everyone else tries to eliminate the president." BW then condemned the theme, apologized for any offense and made it clear that the University does not condone violence against anyone. In fact, BW Community Arts School will not be hosting nerf parties of any kind in the future as they do not fit our vision for art education and outreach.

Q&A

When did BW take over OPA?
Baldwin Wallace just acquired Olmsted Performing Arts on January 1, 2019 as part of our new Community Arts School. OPA is no longer in existence, but a transition that includes an evaluation of programming and communication assets continues.

Who posted the theme?
This party theme, which was posted on the old OPA website, under prior OPA management, is in extremely poor taste and does not reflect the values of BW or our Community Arts School. As soon as the theme was brought to our attention, BW removed it, condemned it and apologized that it remained on the old OPA website.

How did you "advertise" this game?
Based on media reports and social sharing, most people asking this question may understandably assume there was a game titled and promoted as "Shoot the President" on the OPA site. While we stress that BW found the original wording of the game to be inappropriate, the title or description reported in the media did not appear anywhere on the page. A local news reporter inserted that language and placed it inside quotation marks (later edited), which understandably gave viewers, readers and other media the impression that "Shoot the President" was language that originated with and was used by OPA. It was not.

Why didn't you spot this theme earlier?
A screen shot of exactly what appeared and was removed from the site appears below. The offending theme, titled "President," was in the middle of a list of nerf elimination game modes and the exact description read, "President: There is one president with body guards. Everyone else tries to eliminate the president."

Screen shot of former OPA party them list

Was this game posted in response to our current U.S. president?
Past internet snapshots of the old OPA website show that the listing has been present in the exact same form since at least 2014. It appears to have gone unnoticed for many years.

What was the intent of this game?
We can't know what the OPA employee was thinking when this was posted. However, as we've continued to look into this situation, we've heard that past OPA party hosts framed the game as "Protect the President" with bodyguards fending off challengers. Again, though, BW found the theme to be inappropriate and removed it as soon as we were made aware of it.

Are you investigating who did this?
This game listing was posted under former OPA management and appeared on their website as early as 2014. Following the January 1, 2019 acquisition by BW, some OPA managers were involved in the transition but are no longer affiliated with CAS. The director and members of the new CAS management team are longtime BW employees who have never been employed by OPA and had nothing to do with development of OPA programming, titles or descriptions. CAS director Adam Sheldon has no connection to the former OPA organization, but as director of CAS, he did take quick action to remove the offensive game and made himself available to a local news reporter to confirm the removal of the theme and to apologize for any offense.

Why did BW remove all nerf parties?
BW has provided quality community music education for 40 years and under our vision for expanded arts education, this type of programming has no place in our new Community Arts School. The old OPA website is currently undergoing renovation and this specific section of the site was taken down. We are building a new website that reflects new, educational programming, and this is not currently an offering nor will it be moving forward under our leadership.

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