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College professor arrested after disturbance on plane at MIA no longer teaching

Karen Halnon remains employed at Penn State-Abington

MIAMI – A college professor who lit a cigarette on an airplane and then went on a rant about U.S.-Venezuela relations before being arrested at Miami International Airport is no longer teaching.

Pennsylvania State University spokeswoman Lisa Powers said Karen Halnon, an associate professor of sociology at Penn State-Abington, remains employed but is not teaching.

Halnon, 52, was a passenger on an American Airlines flight from Managua, Nicaragua, to Miami earlier this month when she was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct.

A YouTube video posted by a passenger on the flight landing from Managua, Nicaragua, showed a woman believed to be Karen Halnon, 52, lighting up a cigarette and then trying to blame the man sitting next to her when passengers alerted flight attendants.

"You just lit a cigarette on board a plane," a flight attendant said.

"Do not blame him," a passenger said.

"Oh, yeah. He did it. I'm sure he did it," the flight attendant said.

Another YouTube video showed the woman screaming about her views on Venezuela.

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"Venezuela has been declared a national security threat," Halnon said.

At one point during her rant, a passenger who was presumably annoyed by the spectacle offered up his own remark.

"You're a national security threat," the passenger said.

At one point, Halnon said, "I'm going to state my piece before I am arrested."

Halnon was escorted off the plane by police, who said Halnon continued yelling, "(Expletive) you. This is not a democracy."

"The United States military industrial complex is a smoking gun for the rest of the world," Halnon said in a telephone interview with Local 10 News.

Halnon was candid about her support of the leftist government in Caracas.

When asked if she considered herself a Chavista, she replied, "Of course," while laughing.

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