ONE of the losing candidates in the race to become rector of Glasgow University has expressed “disappointment” at the election of whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, who came second in the vote, wrote in his blog that the job “won’t get done” because of the American’s inability to be on campus.
Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, is currently living in exile in Russia after leaking details of surveillance programmes carried out by US intelligence.
Snowden, who takes over the role from former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy, will hold the post for three years.
The other candidates were Rev Holdsworth, cyclist Graeme Obree and novelist Alan Bissett.
Rev Holdsworth wrote: “Any of the three of us who stood on the working rector ticket would have been willing to turn up and work for the students of the University of Glasgow. Both Graeme Obree and Alan Bissett have been good-hearted candidates and there has been a spirit of very friendly rivalry between us. In that sense it has been a very happy election campaign. I think we were all disappointed though that now the job won’t get done and students won’t be represented in the way they could have been.”
Meanwhile in a statement released to The Guardian, Snowden said he was “humbled” by his election.
“I am humbled by and grateful to the students of Glasgow University for this historic statement in defence of our shared values,” he said.
“We are reminded by this bold decision that the foundation of all learning is daring: the courage to investigate, to experiment, to inquire.
“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.”