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.


"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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