Penn State Professor Arrested After Incident On Airplane

17282445-mmmain20150318_inq_rrxpsu18-aPennsylvania State University Associate Professor Karen Bettez Halnon, 52, took her students on a memorable field trip this month to Nicaragua that ended in witnessing her reported meltdown and arrest on an American Airlines flight that landed in Miami. In addition to reportedly raving about how the United States was setting up Venezuela for “military aggression,” she also lit up a cigarette to reportedly show symbolize the United States as a “smoking gun.” She was charged with disorderly-conduct and breach-of-peace. She has accused the FBI and airport security of abusing her after her arrest. Her two research assistants reportedly made it home safely.


Benjamin_D._Maxham_-_Henry_David_Thoreau_-_RestoredHalnon was reportedly angry that the United States declared Venezuela a national security threat. She said that she felt compelled to speak out and apparently chose the middle of an airplane. She described it as her “Henry David Thoreau moment” — that is if Henry David Thoreau was an unhinged crank raving at strangers. I thought he preferred the solitude of Walden’s Pond but then again there were no airliners for Thoreau to vent about “unjust laws.”

She is shown on a video by a fellow passenger yelling “The United States has declared war on Venezuela! Venezuela has been declared a national security threat!” Another passenger responses by yelling “You’re a national security threat!” While she is shown yelling, she insisted on the interview below that women are often said to be yelling when they simply speak their mind:

At one point, a flight attendant appears and says “The police are meeting the aircraft to take you out.” Halnon dismisses the warning and says “I already know that . . . They are already arresting me so I’m going to tell you more.” She was also confronted about lighting up a cigarette on a flight.

When asked if she has been arrested before, she admitted that she had a prior public drunkenness arrest but is quoted as saying “I’ve had many, many sufferings in my life.”

Halnon says that her “great hero” is Hugo Chavez despite his record to denying basic freedoms such as the right to free speech, free press, and due process. She appears to have an affection of lefty dictators. She told media that she has pictures of Fidel Castro and Chavez above her desk at work. While her views are not relevant to these charges or any later school discipline, I find it bizarre to idolize someone like Castro who imprisoned and tortured his opponents, denied professors academic freedom, shutdown the free speech, and barred free speech.

Halnon has an impressive record. She graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College and then received her doctorate in sociology from Boston College in 1995. She also taught previously at Bowdoin College in Maine and the University of Vermont.

Webbing_Vicissit_53e21e3d486b2One of her books would seem to offer some potential support for her next appearance in court. It is entitled “Webbing Vicissitudes of Forgiveness.” It is described as

“From marriage to mythology and from revenge to reconciliation, an intriguing webbing of global, inter-disciplinary, and scholarly dialogue on the vicissitudes of forgiveness, the unforgivable, apology, ritual, and transgressions against Others.”

consumption_0That would be more promising for sentencing than her book “he Consumption of Inequality: Weapons of Mass Distraction,” which is described as

“The fads, fashions, and media in popular consumer culture frequently make recreational and ideological “fun” of poverty and lower class living. It is a phenomenon that puts poor whites, poor blacks, women, gays, handicapped people, and other traditional minorities back in “their place” by prioritizing self-aggrandizing materialism and individual desires over the collective good and constitutes a form of cultural denial.”

Penn State issued a statement that it “is aware of Dr. Karen Halnon’s behavior . . . and is looking into the matter.” This could raise an interesting question of what constitutes a disciplinary matter. Normally such a scene outside of school would be viewed as removed from the university code of conduct. However, she was with two students returning from a research trip. Then again, the University of California, took no serious discipline against a professor who led her students in stealing a pro-life display on campus and assaulting one of the young women at the display.

What is concerning is how unhinged Halnon appears on a trip with students. This is obviously bizarre conduct and Halnon, while saying that she regrets aspects of the incident, insists that it was an exercise of free speech and appears to be trying to justify aspects of her conduct.

48 thoughts on “Penn State Professor Arrested After Incident On Airplane”

  1. Not trying to be funny, but is she drunk or is that slurred speech the result of some psychotic mental condition? Are we sure that she doesn’t work at the University of Pennsylvania sweeping the floors? For all of you spouting about her freedom of speech, I must inform you that I have the freedom to be on a plane without some incoherent, loud, obnoxious slob yelling and lightning up cigarettes. Hope she’s prosecuted for lighting the cigarette, and I pray that the authorities include anything else that they can throw at her, like disturbing the peace.

    1. ladybug

      They get mad at me for saying it like it is but we are supposed to have free speech and that lady is a walking oxymoron.

  2. I think she just wanted attention. These wacked out Liberals that think Chavez was about free speech and are teaching school are what I was warning Inga, Elaine and Prairie Rose about. There is no class left in America and it’s nothing to do with Standardized Tests. those were so easy it was pitiful. It’s too bad they aren’t essay and make you think still. Then those Children would be required to use that empty space between their heads

  3. Paul C. Schulte, yes research assistance receive a stipend, but they are also students. And the article describes them as such. They were the only students mentioned as traveling with her. Technically, nearly all college students are adults. You questioned about her other students and I was merely pointing out that the research assistants were the only students with her, there were no other students to worry about in this case.

  4. And people wonder why Liberal Arts professors are held in Contempt. What’s more amazing? That she’s an idiot and a left-wing wacko – or that she’s only an Associate Professor?

  5. I wonder if this professor might have some medical condition. Sometimes brain tumors can abruptly cause bizarre behavior.

  6. @Pogo and PaulCS

    Hi! I am happy you missed me!!! I was taking some advanced courses for the Koch Brothers, like “Intensive Disruption – New Protocols. And “The Quantum Physics of Trolling.” They even let me teach one class, “Who Knew Trolls Were Poets – Way Beyond Three Billy Goats Gruff.” Man, I feel like my head is going to bust I am sooo much smarter!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  7. So much to say, so here goes. Perhaps she was forced by our government to enjoy some goodies we can’t get here so she would make an ass out of herself.

    Second, our government must have arranged a special display of our actions in Venezuela so she could protest (except, no troops in Venezuela). She should have brought every piece of paper attributed to her for the people. They need toilet paper.

    The no smoking on a plane began on two-hour flights (that’s all they wanted) and a comment above “never light a cigarette” shows how indoctrinated we became.

    Then the people on the plane with her, wearing torn t-shirts, shorts with bellies hanging over, teens with ear plugs singing along.

    Tickets need to have rules printed with “when you enter this plane you lose …” I did notice some airline saying no flip flops (a safety issue if you need to move quickly). Treated as cattle in Coach they behave as cattle. When they used to serve fairly nice meals, with your option to purchase tiny bottles of booze for less than $10, everyone ate, drank, and fell asleep. They had a two-drink limit, so, no one got smashed. How much does a tray of chicken, rice, frozen veggies, roll and butter cost? Would you pay $50 more for a wider seat, an insignificant meal, no children and a peaceful flight?

    We used to dress nicely when getting on a plane, I still do. But I have seen more butt cracks than I care to, so no more Coach. Southwest does a pretty good job of keeping civility. Even with idiots with too much for the overheads.

    I think they should have turned around and left her where they got her. How can people see ISIS and complain about us? Or live in Israel with chances of missiles every day. Or the UK where a Muslim can cut you to ribbons and people just watch? I wish everyone who hates this country would go to another one. Sending them is one government program I’d support!

  8. Oh, and the European Nations that gathered to march FOR free speech and then go back home and arrest people saying things these leaders don’t like… Not Leftist Dictators?

  9. Interesting observation here. Yes she’s a whacko… and yes she said some really ogg stuff and yes, as Mr. Turley points out, some of the leaders she spoke about have censored free speech. Yet, to call them Leftist Dictators would imply that the Floriduh Governor is also a Leftist Dictator for banning the words to be spoken by State employees. Threatening them with their jobs and livelihood… Yet, he was elected with a plurality of Righties… Odd how when a Republican America does it, it’s never.

  10. Oh well, another fat liberal broad who drank too much booze and Kool Aid. This deserves an Irish Poem

    Fusillades In The Fuselage???
    An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    There once was a fat liberal twit,
    Who luvvvved to spout communist sh*t.
    She spent most the day
    Fantasizing on Che’
    And by 7 PM she was lit!

    There was another one but I had to use a naughty word, sooo I didn’t post it here. You have to say the title quickly to get the full effect. . .

    To What End???
    An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    There once was a fat liberal tw*t.
    Whose harangue, it went over. NOT!
    Twasn’t trashing our flag,
    But lighting a fag,
    Which got the authorities hot!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  11. Hey …….. I changed my mind …… she should be staked over an anthill in the hot sun , her eyes should have honey dripped on them ….. her friends should be rounded up , read a lecture and shot. Her dog should be investigated. Her students should be given failing grades. Her assistants should be given to ISIS.

  12. Here’s my favorite Professor Halnon contribution to the world’s relentless quest for knowledge and scholarship:

    Halnon, Karen Bettez. “Alienation Incorporated: ‘F*** the Mainstream Music’ in the Mainstream.” May 01, 2005; 53: 441-464.

    Crude, rude and unattractive.

    1. mespo – you have to admit this one beats the one who did her dissertation on black female porn.

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