Public relations students in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, led by Senior Lecturer Robin Street, are planning It Starts with (Me)ek. Students picture are, left to right, (kneeling) Emma Arnold and Brittanee Wallace; (standing) Kendrick Pittman, Dylan Lewis, Zacchaeus McEwen and Faith Fogarty. Street stands in the center. Credit: Stan O’Dell

It Starts with (Me)ek, a conference designed to encourage inclusion and respect while rejecting stereotypes, begins April 19 on the University of Mississippi campus. It is hosted by the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

The five-day conference, open to all students, faculty, staff and community members, will feature panelists and guest speakers discussing race, gender, sexual orientation, disability and religion.

Shepard Smith, chief news anchor and managing editor for Fox News Network’s Breaking News Division, and Otis Sanford, author of From Boss Crump to King Willie: How Race Changed Memphis and Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism at the University of Memphis, are among the keynote speakers.

“This campaign is particularly important to our Meek School students because as professional journalists, public relations specialists or integrated marketing communications specialists, students will be dealing with and working with many different kinds of people,” said Robin Street, senior lecturer in public relations.

The program was created by a 31-member student committee under Street’s direction. Committee members enrolled in a course specifically to design the campaign.

All events take place in Overby auditorium or in the front lawn of Farley Hall. For more information, visit or follow the campaign on social media at or

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