Press Releases

New Tolerance to UW-Parkside: Fire Covid Conspiracy Theory Touting Professor

For Immediate Release

April 2, 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic has infected 930,000 people and killed at least 47,000 globally. It has brought many cities and countries to a near stand-still, creating historic rates of unemployment and economic hardship with no end in sight. The New Tolerance Campaign recently ran several campaigns thanking some of our society’s good Samaritans that have risked their physical and economic health to keep people healthy and safe. Unfortunately, not all responses to the COVID crisis have been positive. University of Wisconsin-Parkside Professor Seif Dana’s comments are too reprehensible to ignore.  NTC is calling on its activists to tell Chancellor Debbie Ford of UW-Parkside to fire Dana for his despicable comments on terrorist organization Hezbollah’s television station.

Dana is the Associate Dean of UW-Parkside’s College of Social Science and Professional Studies, and Institute for Professional Educator Development Department Chair. On April 1st, the Jewish News Syndicate broke the story that Dana had told terrorist organization Hezbollah’s television news station that COVID-19 is the result of a leak “from a laboratory at Fort Detrick in the United States,” and compared it to America’s bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. 

In the same interview, Dana simultaneously downplayed the impact of the coronavirus, stating that “more people die every year, not just from diseases that you can get vaccinated for, like malaria, but also from the West’s economic policies…than what is happening now.”

Dana then compared the situation to Hitler’s actions in World War II: “This is exactly what happened with Hitler. Hitler did not do anything out of the ordinary. He did not do anything that had not been done by the Europeans before….Hitler came to be viewed as Satan just because he did what he did in Europe.”

These outrageous comments, clearly meant to spread a conspiracy theory designed to rile the audience up rather than ease the tension and stress that everyone is feeling, are an abomination of the responsible and fact-based approach we expect our professors of higher education to take. UW-Parkside’s mission includes the effort to “generate, disseminate and apply knowledge through research, professional and creative activity that benefits communities throughout the region and the world.” Dana not only missed that mark completely, but he purposefully flouted it in conduct that is unacceptable for someone with his dual leadership roles at a respected university. He must go. Join New Tolerance Campaign in calling on UW-Parkside’s Chancellor to fire Dana and expel his poisonous conspiratorial worldview from campus.