NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has taken up his new role as rector of Glasgow University - via video link from Russia.
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The 30-year-old, who is in Russia under temporary asylum since leaving the U.S. last May, addressed some 200 students and faculty remotely, the BBC reported.
The rector is elected by students to represent them. Duties include work with the students' representative council and liaising with university management on behalf of students. Snowden was elected by 3,124 votes in the first round of voting, and 3,347 in the second. Former Glasgow University rectors have included Winnie Mandela and Mordechai Vanunu, the BBC said.
Snowden said he was honored to take up the position, and apologized for not being there in person.
"I'm disappointed and I must apologize for being unable to attend in person, but unfortunately I've discovered that I'm barred from entering the United Kingdom on the grounds that my presence is considered detrimental to the public good," the BBC cited him as saying.
"I do think it's fair to say that the election shows the students of this university have a different opinion."
"People have a right to know the policies of their government," he said. "We may not need to know the names and identities of every target of surveillance on every active operation, but we should know the general outlines and what the government is doing in our name, and particularly what the government is doing against us."
Snowden is expected to serve for three years as rector, the BBC reported.