Edward Snowden elected as rector of Glasgow University

image copyrightAFP
image captionEdward Snowden now lives in Russia after fleeing the United States

Intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden has been elected to the post of student rector at Glasgow University.

The former US National Security Agency contractor fled from his homeland last May after revealing extensive details of internet and phone surveillance.

He is currently staying in Russia where he has temporary asylum.

The rector is the students' elected representative. Mr Snowden succeeds the Liberal Democrat's former leader Charles Kennedy.

Mr Snowden beat three other candidates to the post - cyclist Graeme Obree, author Alan Bissett and Scottish Episcopal clergyman Kelvin Holdsworth.

Previous rectors at the university include Winnie Mandela and Mordechai Vanunu.

'Heroes not traitors'

Among the post-holder's key duties are to attend the university court, which administers resources, work with the students' representative council, and to bring student concerns to the attention of university management.

image captionSnowden supporter Lubna Nowak said the election was a statement against surveillance

Lubna Nowak, one of the representatives from the group which nominated Mr Snowden, told BBC Scotland: "I am incredibly happy and I believe that he deserved it from the beginning.

"Of course I'm honoured as a Glasgow University student to be able to say now Edward Snowden is our rector - I think that's pretty amazing.

"I think we've shown that we oppose mass surveillance and intrusion to our private lives and that also we stand in solidarity - that we believe whistleblowers should be honoured and they're heroes rather than traitors."

In response to concerns over electing an absent rector, Ms Nowak stressed that there were student representatives on the university court and said the vote followed in a "proud tradition" of selecting Mrs Mandela and Mr Vanunu.

The election was held under the single transferable vote system. Mr Snowden received 3,124 votes in the first round and 3,347 in the second.

The nearest candidate was Mr Holdsworth, with 1,563.

Each rector serves a three-year term.

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