Kansas City Art Institute: Student Expelled for Retweeting Hentai

Category: Due Process, Free Speech
Schools: Kansas City Art Institute

On June 15, 2022, Kansas City Art Institute began investigating incoming student Ash Mikkelsen after it received a complaint about their pseudonoymous Twitter account, which includes retweeted images of Japanese cartoon pornography, or hentai. On June 29, KCAI expelled Mikkelsen for “contributing to a hostile learning environment” and “potential sexual harassment” based on the “content” on the Twitter account. Mikkelsen did not receive a hearing before the expulsion and could formally dispute the allegations only through an appeal. On July 6, FIRE wrote to KCAI explaining that because the institution promises students free expression, it cannot expel Mikkelsen for their artistic expression. We also criticized KCAI for violating Mikkelsen’s due process rights for not providing them an opportunity to contest the allegations against them prior to imposing the most severe sanction of expulsion. On July 12, KCAI overturned Mikkelsen’s expulsion on appeal.