EDINBURGH, April 23 (Xinhua) -- U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden was on Wednesday officially initiated as the student rector of the University of Glasgow.
At the rectorial installation at the university, Snowden presented his inaugural address via video link to staff and students. "In a democracy people have a right to know the policies of their government. This idea that if we believe in something we should stand up for it is what I will follow in my role as rector of the university," Snowden noted.
Jess McGrellis, president of the University of Glasgow's students' representative council, said he was "happy that Snowden was able to continue the tradition of addressing students at this installation."
The main role of the rector is to represent the university's students. Having received 3,347 of the 6,560 votes cast by students in February, Snowden takes over from his predecessor Charles Kennedy and will hold the office for the next three years.
Under the Universities (Scotland) Act 1858, the rector is the "ordinary president" of court, the university's governing body of 25 members, drawn from the university's students and staff, from its graduates and from the wider community, which is responsible for overseeing the management of the university.
Snowden, a former U.S. defense contractor who revealed U.S. secret surveillance programs, is currently living in Russia under temporary asylum and facing espionage charges for his leaks on U.S. National Security Agency surveillance practices in his home country.