Published on February 21, 2014 | by Caroline Schmitt


Snowden elected as Glasgow University rector

Edward Snowden

Snowden will begin his term as Glasgow University rector in April this year. [Flickr: Robert Douglass]

Edward Snowden has been elected rector of the University of Glasgow, following a student-led campaign against state surveillance.

Snowden, currently in Russia, won the large majority of votes at over 3,000, on Tuesday; his three-year term will start in April, but is expected to be largely symbolic.

Christopher Cassells, the student who nominated the high-profile whistleblower and his spokesperson, told ALN: “We’re all absolutely delighted that students at Glasgow University have voted overwhelmingly for Edward Snowden. This is a loud and clear statement against pervasive state surveillance and in favour of Edward Snowden’s actions as a whistleblower.

“Our next step is to continue building the campaign against the corrupt and invasive practices of the NSA [National Security Agency] and GCHQ [Government Communication Hadquarters]. We have Noam Chomsky addressing the students on Friday via live video link and we’re extremely excited to hear our new rector’s inaugural address in April,” Cassells added.


In June 2013, Snowden leaked confidential intelligence material to The Guardian and The New York Times, providing evidence which revealed that the NSA had been spying on American citizens through the collection of meta-data from phone calls and the internet using a surveillance programme called Prism.

GCHQ, the British counterpart to the NSA, was also implicated through Prism and its own Tempora operation, which has been monitoring traffic passing through fibre-optic trunk cables.

Having faced sharp opposition in the US, Snowden applied for, and was granted, temporary asylum by Russia in August 2013.

In a statement to The Guardian, Snowden said: “I am humbled by and grateful to the students of Glasgow University for this historic statement in defence of our shared values. We are reminded by this bold decision that the foundation of all learning is daring: the courage to investigate, to experiment, to inquire.”

“This election shows that the students of Glasgow University intend to lead the way, and it is my great honour to serve as their rector,” added the NSA whistleblower.

Edward Snowden will succeed Charles Kennedy, the former Liberal Democrat leader.


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