SQ Magazine

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Edward Snowden elected Rector of Glasgow University

Posted on Tuesday, 18 February by

Edward Snowden

Intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden has been elected as student rector at the University of Glasgow after 6,500 students turned out to vote, the highest recorded in modern times and double the votes of the previous year.

The former US National Security Agency contractor follows in the footsteps of South Africa’s Winnie Mandela and Israeli dissident Mordechai Vanunu and replaces former Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy, the outgoing Rector, to serve a three-year term.

Students who campaigned on behalf of Snowden gave an acceptance speech on his behalf, as the American currently resides in temporary asylum in Russia after fleeing his homeland last May. Snowden beat three other candidates to the post of student rector, including cyclist Graeme Obree, author Alan Bissett and Scottish Episcopal clergyman Kelvin Holdsworth.

The role requires the post-holder 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 – however it remains unclear how well the intelligence whistleblower will be able to fulfill his duties.

Students approached Snowden’s lawyers last year when he accepted the nomination for the post. PhD student Chris Cassells, part of the group that nominated Edward Snowden for the post, told the Daily Record:

We got in touch through his lawyers and have been communicating through them, and he has agreed to take part and was happy to support what we’re doing.

“Our position is that voting for Edward Snowden first of all shows support for his plight at the moment and it also sends a message to governments that the intrusive practices of state security are not acceptable and are not something the students of the university agree with.”

Cassells thinks this election is a great way for students to show their support for the NSA leaker: “What we are calling on students to do today and tomorrow during the elections is to vote for Edward Snowden to send a clear signal to the world that we are against pervasive state surveillance, that we support his actions as a whistleblower.”

Read: The Intercept’s piece on documents revealing pressure tactics aimed at WikiLeaks.

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Lewis Scrafton
22. Co-founder and editor of SQ Magazine. Studying at University of Sussex. Interned at MATTER and published in The Guardian.

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