Termination of VIPIRG License & Operating Agreement with the UVSS
In 1989, a group of young people started the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group (VIPIRG). At the time, community-based research was a new concept and VIPIRG spearheaded multiple groundbreaking research projects. Thirty years later, VIPIRG’s research is recognized locally and around the world. We continue to empower marginalized youth through research, education, and advocacy.
Since our inception, VIPIRG has been an independent non-profit organization. Our research and programs highlight and address a community-identified need, with the potential to tangibly address a community problem.
As VIPIRG continues to evolve and grow as an organization, so do our partnerships. Over the past few years, it has become increasingly clear to our Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers that our longterm partnership with the University of Victoria Students’ Society is no longer sustainable. The UVSS has repeatedly tried to interfere in VIPIRG’s operations, with many instances of UVSS Board Members vocalizing that they fail to see value in VIPIRG’s ten year community grants program, which has provided necessary seed funding to over a hundred local organizations and individuals, and has impacted thousands of Victoria residents. Most recently, we were prohibited from moving forward on a project on sexualized violence on campus due to significant limitations placed on some colleagues and potential collaborators by the student society. Finally, as many of you know, in the spring, the UVSS Board of Directors passed a motion which took VIPIRG’s funding to referendum. Although, we won the referendum, the results were disqualified and the UVSS Elections Office recommended another referendum be held. In light of all this, our organization reflected on the amount of time we spent campaigning and how constant battles with the UVSS have continually distracted from the important work that needs to be done in our community.
Effective immediately, VIPIRG is ending our professional and financial relationship with the UVSS. We are disappointed with the previous and current actions of the UVSS Board. We only hope that the UVSS can learn from this experience and commit to building trust and relationships with the independent organizations still associated with them.
Distancing ourselves from the UVSS and UVSS funding will allow VIPIRG staff, board, and volunteers the freedom to spend our finite time, money, and resources on community research, programming, and responding to community needs, rather than worrying and responding to defunding campaigns/referendums. We have been and still are confident in our organization's transparency and adherence to UVSS policies and protocol, however the UVSS's repeated attempts to undermine VIPIRG's work has become clear, which is why we have decided to make this move at this time.
We still plan to support and work in partnership with the greater Victoria community as we have been for 30 years, this move will simply allow us to be able to focus on those needs even better, without being limited by restrictive UVSS funding, requirements, and prescriptive policies. And yes, we hope to relaunch the sexualized violence project.
We are excited to announce that VIPIRG has moved to a new office at 2722 Fifth Street. Our old office has served us well, but our new location is at the heart of the city, and walking distance from downtown, which will enable us to reach more youth and residents of the city.
We are still working on getting settled in; please stay tuned and follow our social media accounts and website for updates. Finally, thank you to all the students, staff, faculty and volunteers for your support over the years! We look forward to your continued support as we start this new chapter in VIPIRG's history.