Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live


University of San Diego gets federal funding to research VIP: violence, inequality and power

The University of San Diego is about to appoint a group of researchers to a new lab that will focus on inequality and power. KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez says they come from military and social justice advocacy backgrounds, plus someone with personal experience in the criminal justice system. Here’s more on what they are researching.

The University of San Diego will soon appoint a group of researchers to a new lab that focuses on violence, inequality, and power. The lab uses the acronym VIP.

California U.S. Representative Sara Jacobs was on campus Wednesday morning to announce $580,000 in federal funding. It will be spent hiring eight research fellows who will work to solve local and world problems.

"It's a little bit of a play on the term. Usually, VIP is a very important person, sort of the elite," said VIP lab director Rachel Locke. "What we are doing is flipping it with the terminology of VIP to get to the issues of inequality, and how they affect violence.”


Violence like the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. The mass shootings that continue almost weekly on school campuses.

The money will be used to find and hire researchers around the world. There are also a couple of spots for USD fellows to work on campus as part of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies.

"Addressing inequality isn’t just about addressing it right now. But, actually, how it factors into the broader issues we’re having in society," Jacobs said.

You can learn more about the VIP Lab here, and the upcoming fellowship program here.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.