Snowden Elected As Glasgow University Rector, Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize
from the you-never-know dept
One of Edward Snowden's many wise decisons was removing himself from the NSA surveillance story to let the leaked documents speak for themselves. He's given very few interviews, and his public statements have been relatively rare (the latest is a short video commentary on Chelsea Manning receiving the Sam Adams Award). That makes his election as rector of Glasgow University for the next three years particularly noteworthy. As The Guardian explains:
The rector not only represents the students but is chairman of the university court, the body that administers the resources of the university.
Given Snowden's inability to leave Russia at the moment, the post is purely symbolic. In an earlier Guardian piece, Chris Cassells, Snowden's spokesperson for the rectorial election campaign, explained the thinking behind the move:
Glasgow University students have a long and proud tradition of electing student rectors to represent their political views -- from Albert Lutuli to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and, in 2005, the Israeli whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu. The campaign to elect Edward Snowden is set firmly in that tradition. Once every three years we Glasgow University students have a powerful opportunity to air our opinion on an issue of our choosing. This week we have chosen to nominate the whistleblower Edward Snowden in order to show our support for his actions and our disgust with the perverse desire of the security services to monitor our every keystroke.
Here's Snowden's official response to the news, as reported by The Guardian:
"I am humbled by and grateful to the students of Glasgow University for this historic statement in defence of our shared values.
Interestingly, Snowden has already been nominated by two Norwegian politicians for another "great honor": the 2014 Nobel peace prize....
"We are reminded by this bold decision that the foundation of all learning is daring: the courage to investigate, to experiment, to inquire."
He added: "If we do not contest the violation of the fundamental right of free people to be left unmolested in their thoughts, associations, and communications - to be free from suspicion without cause - we will have lost the foundation of our thinking society. The defence of this fundamental freedom is the challenge of our generation, a work that requires constructing new controls and protections to limit the extraordinary powers of states over the domain of human communication.
"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."