April 1979 Council Minutes
MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING DATED APRIL 20, 1979
The Council met on 20 April 1979 at l:00 PM in Suite H of the Biltmore
Hotel in New York. Members present were R. Ayoub, R.H. Bing, M. Gerstenhaber,
R. Graham, K. Hoffman, J. Kemperman, P. Lax, M. McKean, J. Milnore, G. Mostow,
S. Orey, F. Peterson, E. Pitcher, J. Robinson, L. Rothschild, R. Seeley, S.
Shatz, E. Stein, D. Wagner, R. Wells. Also present were L. Durst, R. Hahn,
W.J. LeVeque, and H. MacDonald. At various times the privilege of the floor
was granted to Dorothy Bernstein, Mary Gray, Calvin Moore, John Nohel, Alex
Rosenberg, and Lucille Whyburn. President Lax was in the chair.
1. The minutes of the meeting of 23 January 1979 had been distributed by
mail. An attachment was omitted, namely the minutes of Council business by
mail of l5 September 1978. It was announced that it would be distributed with
the minutes of the current meeting. With that note in mind, the minutes were
2. Professor Chandler Davis wanted to know whether a date could be
establisted before which the ballots in the election of 1979 would not be
mailed and suggested August 30. The Secretary proposed August 27, in order
that the mailing, which takes several days, could be completed before Labor
Day. This date was accepted and is noted in the minutes at the request of
3. The Council went into executive session, at which time Professor Mary
Gray, Chairman of the Committee on Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Employment
Security, reported to the Council on the state of affairs at Yeshiva University
with respect to the closing of the graduate program in mathematics and the
status of terminated tenured faculty. A report from the NOTICES covering part
of the ground is attached. The position of the American Association of
University Professors was reported. It was noted that members of the
mathematics faculty had been notified of the offer by the Society to serve as
institutional affiliation for research grants on request of any of those
faculty members and that for the time being, they did not wish to avail
themselves of the offer. On a motion by Professor Gerstenhaber, the Council
agreed to regard the situation at Yeshiva as a continuing case and to continue
to cooperate with the AAUP in dealing with it, according to previously
The Nominating Committee made the following recommendations of
candidates for the election of 1979:
President Elect Andrew M. Gleason (Harvard)
(2 positions) Hyman Bass (Columbia)
David Gale (Berkeley)
Mary E. Rubin (Wisconsin)
James B. Serrin (Minnesota)
(2 positions) Paul T. Bateman (Illinois)
Kenneth A. Ross (Oregon)
Trustee P. Emery Thomas (Berkeley)
Pub. & Communications
American Journal Richard G. Swan (Chicago)
Bulletin Meyer Jerison (Purdue)
Colloquium Elias M. Stein (Princeton)
Mathematical Reviews Paul T. Bateman (Illinois)
Mathematical Surveys R. James Milgram (Stanford)
Mathematics of Comp. Carl de Boor (Wisconsin)
Proceedings (3 post.) William E. Kirwan II (Maryland)
David J. Lutzer (Texas Tech)
Reinhardt E. Schultz (Purdue)
Transactions & Memoirs Jan Mycielski (Colorado)
(2 positions) Paul H. Rabinowitz (Wisconsin)
Committee to Monitor W. Wistar Comfort (Wesleyan)
Prob. in Commun. Robert W. Ritchie (Washington)
Member-at-large James G. Arthur (Toronto)
(5 positions) Eugene B. Dynkin (Cornell)
G.J. Fix (Carnegie-Mellon)
Frederick W. Gehring (Michigan)
Melvin Hochster (Michigan)
Marian B. Pour-El (Minnesota)
David A. Sanches (New Mexico)
The Secretary noted that all of these persons had been approached and
had agreed to be candidates if nominated. The Council made the nominations
proposed by the Committee.
The Council returned to open session.
5. The Committee on Obituaries made its final report, which is attached,
and asked to be discharged. The Council accepted the report and requested the
Editors of the Bulletin and the Secretary to follow its recommendations. The
Committee was discharged with thanks.
6. Professor George D. Mostow, Chairman of the Committee to Modes of
Support of Research, reported as follows:
1. The Committee recommends that AMS should submit a proposal to NSF
for administration of an Oberwolfach-type institute which would arrange ten
one-week conferences in specialized areas for about 30 participants.
2. The Committee recommends that AMS should submit a proposal for a
mid-level Postdoctoral Program of l5 awards to mathematicians of Ph.D. age
3. The Committee has received expressions of support for
mini-institutes hosted by mathematics departments and also for Postdoctoral
Research Instructorships at strong mathematics departments. The Committee
approves of such modes of support, but does not recommend that the AMS sponsor
such programs. Rather, such modes of support should be proposed by mathematics
departments directly to NSF.
4. The Committee recommends that the Council request the editors of
the NOTICES to publish its recommendations and to invite suggestions from the
AMS membership for new modes of support.
In advancing item l, the Committee referred to the attached communications from
William Browder. The model for the fellowships recommended in item 2 is the
Debate centered initially on item l. Concern was expressed and then
fears allayed that such conferences would be confined to experts with exclusion
of junior people. Concern over closed conferences was voiced. The possibility
of a permanent building was considered and, at least for the time being,
dropped. Mostow moved that the Council direct the Society to submit a proposal
to the NSF by August l, for an annual program of at least ten one-week long
conferences in specialized areas. The motion passed. It was understood that
this was a recommendation of the principle to the BT for its approval and that
the EC was empowered to handle subsequent details. Further action on the
report of the Committee was deferred.
7. The Committee on Human Rights recommended that the Council of the AMS
declare the following as policy of the Society:
Any delegation sent as part of a scientific exchange either from the
Soviet Union or any other country to the United States, or from the United
States to the Soviet Union, or any other country, be viewed as a unit. If
permission is refused to admit or grant travelling papers to any individual
member of such a delegation, then the exchange should be cancelled. (i.e., if
the Soviet Union or any other country refused travelling papers to any
individual member of any invited Soviet delegation, then the invitation to the
delegation as a whole should be cancelled. Similarly, if entrance permission
is refused to any member of an American delegation to the Soviet Union then the
scientific visit of the entire delegation should be cancelled.) Moreover, the
Committee recommends that the membership of the A.M.S. should normally be
informed whenever such scientific exchanges have to be cancelled.
There was debate over the meaning and applicability of parts of the resolution,
which was then referred back to the Committee.
8. Professor John Nohel, Chairman of the Committee on Human Rights,
reported for the Committee, which recommended that the President be invited to
write to the King of Morocco and others concerning the Morocan mathematician
Sion Assidon and that a resolution concerning him be on the agenda of the
Business Meeting in August 1979. The text of the resolution, which explains
the problem to be addressed in the letter, is as follows:
This Business Meeting takes note of reports that the Moroccan
mathematician Sion Assidon was arrested more than seven years ago, apparently
for no reason other than his political opposition to the regime, and has been
held without trail since that time. It is reported further that his health has
deteriorated seriously. The Meeting expresses its concern for the fate of our
fellow mathematician, and calls for Sion Assidon to be quickly released unless
he is brought to trail and convicted on criminal charges.
The question was raised whether the invitation to the President should be on
the agenda since it was not part of the agenda as presented in advance. The
first part of the question concerning the letter was put on the agenda by the
requisite two-thirds vote. There was debate concerning the propriety of the
resolution inasmuch as the President could write such a letter without it. The
motion passed. Then a motion that the resolution be placed on the agenda of
the August Business meeting was passed.
A further question was raised that a bill concerning immigration is
before Congress and that Professor Gray might testify about individuals to whom
a visa had been denied. Dr. Wagner inquired by what authority the testimony
would be given. Professor Stein offered a motion that the Council authorize
the Committee on Human Rights to testify on this issue. The placing of this
motion on the agenda without advance notice was questioned and a motion to do
so was passed with the requisite majority. Professor Peterson proposed that
the issue of authority for testifying be placed on the agenda of the Council of
August 1979. In the meantime, it was suggested that testimony be clearly
labeled as testimony by an individual and not testimony of a Society committee.
There was no formal action on the motion of authorization, but it was suggested
and greeted with consent that the matter be left to an ad hoc committee
consisting of President Lax, Davis, and Pitcher. The last noted that he would
be unavailable at the critical time.
9. The Council returned to the report of the Committee on Modes of Support
of Research. After discussion the second item on the report was approved as a
recommendation to the BT.
10. The Committee on Membership has been seeking ways to make membership in
the Society more attractive to persons who should naturally belong. One of
these is to make the NOTICES more attractive. In response, the Editorial
Committee of the NOTICES prepared a report titled ON IMPROVING THE NOTICES,
containing the following proposals:
First, it is proposed that the NOTICES publish more items of general
interest to mathematicians. In particular, feature articles about recipients
of Society prizes, and historical articles, (e.g. reminiscences of older
mathematicians, or the history of a theorem or theory still relevant in
contemporary mathematics) should be published. Articles on new Society
officers might also be appropriate. To accommodate this ambitious and more
vigorous editorial policy for the NOTICES, it would be necessary to enlist an
aggressive editor to solicit feature articles as was done for the BULLETIN-NEW
SERIES. Improvement in the typography, design and paper quality, as well as
the expanded editorial policy, could be quite effective and make the NOTICES a
more attractive publication.
Second, it is proposed to divide the NOTICES into two journals. The
abstracts would be split off as a separate publication, so that the NOTICES
would be slimmer and, in principle, more interesting from cover to cover. Under
the proposed scheme, the NOTICES, which would contain feature articles, meeting
information, new announcements, etc., would be published eight times a year as
is currently done; it would be distributed to all members of the Society free,
in accordance with the Bylaws. The new journal, which might be entitled
"ABSTRACTS of papers presented to the Society", would be published seven times
a year and distributed free to members, but only upon request. (Members would
be asked to tick a box on the dues notice if the ABSTRACTS subscription were
wanted for that calendar year.) Paid subscribers and institutional members
would automatically receive subscriptions to both journals.
The full report is attached.
The Secretary moved the two proposals. The question was divided. The
motion, with respect to the first part, was modified by agreement to a form
proposed by Professor Browder to endorse the principle of trying to make the
NOTICES into an attractive mathematical newsletter which would be pleasant to
read and to reorganize it both technically and editorially to that effect. The
motion was passed. The second proposal to divide the NOTICES into two journals,
the prose and the abstracts, was passed as a recommendation to the Trustees.
11. Professor Chandler Davis had asked that the following motion be placed
on the agenda:
That the Council rescind its standing instruction to the Nominating
Committee to recommend for certain officers no more candidates than positions
to be filled.
That the Council declare its intention in the future to offer more
candidates on the ballot than positions to be filled, provided enough well-
qualified candidates can be found, for the offices of president, trustee,
secretary, associate secretary, treasurer, associate treasurer, member of
That nomination by petition be treated for above offices in the same
way as for the office of vice-president.
However, on his motion the matter was defered to the Annual Meeting of 1980.
12. At its meeting of 8-10 December 1978, the EC/BT, meeting jointly,
decided without dissenting vote to establish archives of the Society at the
John Hay Library of Brown University. It was noted that the contract between
Brown and the Society is in draft and will be ready for formal approval of the
wording by the Trustees at the joint EC/BT meeting of ll-13 May 1979.
The matter of archives was under consideration since 1976. Activity
appears to have begun with communication between R. L. Wilder and the
Humanities Research Center (HRC) at the University of Texas in Austin. The
possibility of setting up archives at HRC was pursued vigorously by the MAA and
rather passively by this Society, working through a Joint Fact Finding
Committee on Archives under the chairmanship of Henry Alder.
No location other than HRC was seriously considered by the Fact Finding
Committee, possibly because of the interest shown by HRC and the attractiveness
of the proposal that was made. The Fact Finding Committee submitted its final
report, under a cover letter dated November 29, 1977. The principal section of
the recommendation was the following:
The Joint Committee recommends that the AMS Board of Trustees and the
MAA Board of Governors approve this agreement, the AMS Trustees at
their meeting in December 10-11, 1977, in San Francisco, and the MAA
Board of Governors at their meeting on January 5, 1978, in Atlanta.
Please note that on the last page the agreement provides: "If only
one of the AMS and the MAA governing boards should approve, this
agreement will be binding on only that one which does approve."
On the other hand, the Trustees of the Society did not approve at their
meeting of December 10-11, 1977. Instead, they authorized a Committee on
Archives, consisting of Trustees and responsible to them, to investigate
further, including a "study [of] a number of questions which were raised about
HRC, and to investigate how other disciplines handle their archives."
Investigation of similar facilities at other institutions was authorized and
requested. Minutes of this meeting of the EC/BT were previously distributed to
the Council. Refer to item 55, attached.
A detailed account of the work of the committee of Trustees is given in
the letter of March 6, 1979 from Calvin Moore, Chairman of the Committee when
it had one, to R.H. Bing, who may have appointed it, in response to Bing's
letter of January 3l, which is also attached.
The Committee on Archives, through the work of William J. LeVeque, who
had been formally appointed consultant to the Committee for the purpose, became
aware of the possibility of establishing Society archives at Brown University.
The recommendation of the Committee to the EC/BT of May l3-l4, 1978 was that
"The Committee would favor approving the proposal of HRC at the University of
Texas for receiving the archives of the AMS unless the proposal from Brown is
particularly attractive." The Trustees voted to defer a decision to the
meeting of December 1978 and instructed the Executive Director to obtain a more
detailed contract from Brown. Minutes of the EC/BT meeting of May l3-l4, 1978
were previously distributed to the Council. Refer to item 6.9, attached.
The EC/BT and Board of Trustees of December 8-10, 1978, as noted in the
first paragraph did reach a decision. The Committee on Archives, after further
investigation, did favor the Brown proposal and did recommend to the EC/BT that
it be accepted and the EC/BT agreed. Minutes of the EC/BT were previously
distributed to the Council. Refer to item 6.10, attached.
In making its recommendation, the Committee on Archives noted that both
the proposal of HRC and the one from John Hay were attractive. The deciding
reason in the minds of the Committee was the proximity of Brown University to
the Providence office.
A memorandum from the Executive Director to the Secretary, with
attachments of its own, is attached to these agenda.
At its meeting of January 23, 1979, the Council received a statement
dated January 19, 1979 from the Joint Fact Finding Committee on Archives,
signed by Henry Alder as Chairman. Although that Committee made what it called
its final report in November 1977, it had not been formally discharged. The
burden of the statement is "to inform the Council that this action [of the
EC/BT] goes counter to the recommendation that it [the Fact Finding Committee]
has made in its report of November 29, 1977" and to state that the Fact Finding
Committee would "prepare a well-documented statement to the Council for
submission at a meeting later this year."
Past President R.H. Bing also asked the Council to consider the issues.
On February 20, 1979, the Secretary, following the instruction of the
President and the Chairman of the Board, informed Professor Alder, by means of
the attached letter, that the consideration of the position that the Fact
Finding Committee wished to present would take place at the April meeting of
the Council. The response was a second "Statement of the Joint Fact Finding
Committee on Archives," dated March 12, 1979, and attached, requesting the
Council to "postpone consideration of this item to its August meeting."
The Secretary, again acting on instruction, sent the attached reply
dated March 2l, 1979. Professor Alder declined the invitation to be present at
this meeting with the privilege of the floor. On the other hand, President
Dorothy L. Bernstein, President of the MAA, and Professor Lucille Whyburn, who
has worked with the archives now in the HRC, were present, as were Trustees
Calvin C. Moore and Alex Rosenberg.
The Council agreed to consider the question in committee of the whole
and Professors Bernstein, Moore, Rosenberg, and Whyburn were invited to
The Committee on the whole did not formulate a motion. When the
regular session resumed, the Secretary moved that the Council confirm the
action of the EC and endorse the action of the Trustees in their joint decision
to establish the archives of the Society at Brown University. On a straw
ballot, this motion was compared with a motion by Daniel H. Wagner that the
question was not predominately a scientific question, but one of property
management that should be referred back to the Trustees and one by Chandler
Davis that the Council postpone action until the meeting of August 1979 and
hear the report of the Joint Fact Finding Committee. The last was the motion
put to the Council and it was passed.
13. The account of the AMS Postdoctoral Fellowship competition as it will
appear in the NOTICES was received and is attached.
l4. Professor Judy Green wrote a Letter to the Editor of the NOTICES
concerning blind refereeing. In as much as it had not yet appeared and in
response to her request, it was distributed to the Council for information and
15. The BT had asked that the Joint Projects Committee submit an annual
report. The Committee had in fact been doing so and plans to issue a report
each summer. The report for the summer of 1978 was received and is attached
16. The Council adjourned at 6:15 PM, leaving two items of business for the
meeting of August 1979.
One was a proposal by Professor Ronald Douglas that the Society
"require that people who publish papers in AMS journals be members of AMS."
The other was a letter with several signatures urging the election of a
particular candidate to the Council. The Council of January 24, 1973 had
instructed the Editors of the NOTICES not to publish such letters. The
unresolved issue was whether the Council wished to change this instruction.
Everett Pitcher, Secretary
April 20, 1979