Edward Snowden, who made headlines last year for revealing details about U.S. phone and Internet surveillance, is now the student rector at UK’s Glasgow University. The post is a symbolic one, and is decided by a student election. As rector, Snowden represents the student populace and is expected to work with the student representative council, bring student concerns to the attention of university management, and attend the university court.
Snowden was nominated by a group of students who had received his prior approval through his legal representative. The group stated that Glasgow University has a tradition of making noteworthy and relevant statements through their rectors. Electing Snowden to the post was their way of showing him and other whistleblowers that they stand in solidarity with them and their cause—in this case, the opposition to surveillance, the immoral and pervasive intrusion by the state into the private lives of its people.
The other nominees to the post were author Alan Bissett, local clergyman Kelvin Holdsworth, and champion cyclist Graeme Obree. Snowden succeeds former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy. Previous Glasgow University student rectors include Mordechai Vanunu and Winnie Mandela.
Snowden will hold the post for three years, after which there will be another round of nominations for the next rector. This year’s election was done using a single transferable vote system. During the first round, he received 3,124 votes, and got 3,347 in the second round of voting.
Snowden, a former analyst for the United States National Security Agency, became known for disclosing classified documents to the media. The documents revealed that the NSA had been running surveillance on Internet use and telecommunications on a global scale. He has been granted temporary asylum in Russia after fleeing the US in May 2013.
Edward Snowden is elected as rector
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