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PSU continues probe of Abington prof who went on plane rant

"We've got a problem here." - Penn State President Eric Barron on Abington prof who held an hours long rant on a plane while students were with her.

Penn State officials said Thursday that they continue to review the case of a professor who was arrested in Miami over the weekend after going on an hours-long rant about U.S.-Venezuela relations on an airplane.

"We've got a problem there," President Eric Barron said, referring further comment to Madlyn L. Hanes, vice president for the Commonwealth Campuses. "The university is taking action."

Karen Bettez Halnon, 52, an associate professor of sociology at Penn State Abington, is cooperating with the university's review of the matter, Hanes said. Two undergraduate students were traveling with Halnon when she caused disruption on the plane, which was flying from Nicaragua to Miami. The students had been conducting research with her.

She declined to say whether Halnon would remain employed by the university.

"We took it very, very seriously, and the students have cooperated," she said. "…I think our concern is always for the safety of our students and that we are good stewards of the university when we travel."

She said she didn't expect the investigation to take too long.

"This matter is very high on our attention screen," she said.