On February 15, Congresswoman Sara Jacobs announced the awarding of $580,000 in federal funding to launch the Violence, Inequality and Power (VIP) Lab Fellowship program. Thanks to Rep. Jacobs and her team's collaboration with the University of San Diego and the VIP Lab team, the funding was secured from the 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill signed by the U.S. Congress.
Pictured: University of San Diego's President James Harris, Congresswoman Sara Jacobs, and Director of the VIP Lab, Rachel Locke
The inaugural fellowship class will consist of eight fellows, two will be residential and the other six non-residential, as well as two from California, two international, and four from anywhere in the world. The fellows will be tasked with supporting experimental research and influence the broader field of study. “Violence is in large part representative of power relationships that serve certain individuals or populations at the expense of others, often through systems of structural exclusion that create cycles of harm and disempowerment,” said Rachel Locke, Director of the VIP Lab. “Yet, while the centrality of power inequalities is increasingly known to drive violence, research on the topic is sparse.”
The design of the fellowship will evidence how inequalities impact violence across a range of types of violence, both in driving violence dynamics and influencing responses to violence. A range of fellows will be selected from each of the following categories: violence against women, violence in the community, and political violence. “Understanding the role inequality plays in perpetuating the cycle of violence is key to building a more peaceful, just, and equal society,” said Congresswoman Sara Jacobs. “That’s why I was so proud to secure this funding for USD’s Violence, Inequality and Power Lab Fellowship program – to support their cutting-edge analysis, shape the broader field of study, and invest in the next generation of research. This funding will help add much-needed data to the conversation on inequality driving violence and conflict here at home and around the world.”
In addition to the outlined categories, at least one spot will be reserved for a veteran, which will reinforce a deep need for greater connection between those who have served in the military and those studying violence. Then at least one spot will be reserved for an individual with a law enforcement or criminal justice background, for similar reasons. Finally, another spot will be for an individual who has been directly impacted by violence or the criminal justice system. The inclusion of fellows with direct experience will help to ensure the lab’s thinking is grounded and practical.