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Feb 19, 2014 07:01 AM EST

Edward Snowden Elected as Glasgow University Rector


Edward Snowden, NSA whistle-blower, has been elected as the Glasgow University rector. The 30-year-old fugitive received 3,347 of the 6,560 votes in the second ballot.

"We have a proud and virtuous tradition of making significant statements through our rectors, and today we have once more championed this idea by proving to the world that we are not apathetic to important issues such as democratic rights," Chris Cassells, the 27-year-old doctoral student who helped Snowden coordinate the election campaign, said, Scotsman reports.

Snowden succeeds former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy. The outgoing rector said that he was pleased to serve the Glasgow students.

In statement to the Guardian, the American said that he was humbled and grateful to students for voting him as the rector of the Scotland University for the next three years.

"In a world where so many of our developing thoughts and queries and plans must be entrusted to the open internet, mass surveillance is not simply a matter of privacy, but of academic freedom and human liberty," Snowden said.

The position of rector which exists at Scotland's five universities doesn't necessitate any personal appearances. The rector represents the students, raises their concerns to the university's management and chairs the university court at Glasgow.

Cassells hopes that the NSA operative will address the students through a video at his official inauguration.

 "We're very hopeful that he will be able to deliver the inaugural address in April either via video link or a pre-recorded message, and hopefully that will be the first in a series of engagements," Cassells said.

Other prominent personalities who have served as the rector in the Scotland University include trade unionist Jimmy Reid, Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu (2005), former EastEnders actor Ross Kemp and Winnie Mandela (1987) among others.

Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor currently lives in exile in Moscow after leaking details of phone and internet surveillance programmes carried out by US intelligence.

Last month, two Norwegian politicians nominated the American for this year's Nobel Peace Prize. They claimed the whistleblower's actions have led to a "more stable and peaceful world order".

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