August 1977 Council Minutes
MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING DATED AUGUST 15, 1977
The Council met on August l5, 1977 in the Condon Room of the University
Tower Hotel in Seattle at 5:00 PM. Members present were S. Armentrout, R.
Ayoub, D. Bailey, R. Bartle, P. Bateman, L. Bers, R.H. Bing, W. Browder, P.
Church, R. Douglas, D. Gale, T.W. Gamelin, R. Goldberg, M. Gray, J. Green, P.
Halmos, R. Kirby, W. LeVeque, W.A.J. Luxemburg, R.J. Milgram, K. Norton, B.
Osofsky, E. Pitcher, M. Rosenlicht, K. Ross, H. Rossi, L. Rothschild, L. Rubel,
R. Seeley, S. Shatz, H. Weinberger, E. Wilkins, J. Wolf. Those also present
were L. Durst, R. Hahn, H. MacDonald, G.L. Walker. John Durbin of the
Committee on Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Employment Security was present by
invitation and Arnold Lebow was given the privilege of the floor. President
Bing was in the chair.
The minutes of the Council of April 16, 1977, had been distributed by
mail. The Secretary noted one correction. The first sentence in the last
paragraph, but one should be completed with the italicized words.
The Council elected Steven Armentrout to the post of Associate
Treasurer for the last half of the 1977 AND ALL OF 1978.
Dr. Durst noted two corrections. On p. 4, the following sentence should be
added to the end of the third paragraph.
THE MOTION AS AMENDED WAS PASSED.
On p. 6. L. ll, the word is TIMELY, not TIME.
With these corrections, the minutes were approved.
Past President Bers presented the report of the Committee on Human
Rights of Mathematicians. He first presented a status report on the condition
of several individuals whose rights have been invaded and in whom the Committee
and the Society have taken particular interest. The Council agreed at his
request that an expanded version of the report, not to exceed two pages should
appear in the NOTICES.
Professor Bers then presented three motions as follows:
MOTION l: The 8lst Summer Meeting of the AMS reiterates the deep concern of
the U.S. mathematical community about the fate of the famous Uruguayan
mathematician Jose Luis Massera, imprisoned since l975, for political reasons,
and of Senor Massera, also jailed. We urge that the Masseras be permitted to
leave for France where Professor Massera has been offered a position.
The officers of the Society are requested to communicate this motion to
the government of Uruguay.
MOTION II: The 8lst Summer Meeting of the American Mathematical Society
reiterates its deep concern about the situation of several Soviet colleagues
who are refused permission to emigrate and are penalized for asking such
permission by complete exclusion from scientific activities and, in some cases,
We are especially moved by the case of the venerable Moscow
mathematician, Naum Meiman, and by the case of the two young Kiev
Mathematicians, David and Gregory Chudnovsky, whose work aroused admiration
among matheicians of the world, and one of whom suffers from a disabling
disease (myasthenia gravis).
We request the officers of the Society, and mathematicians everywhere
to do all they can to help Meiman and the Chudnofskys.
Motion III: The 81st Summer Meeting of the AMS notes with dismay that the
Moscow mathematician and computer scientist, Anatoli Schcharansky, known for
his open legal activities on behalf of human rights, including the right to
emigration, has been held in a Moscow prison since March 1977 and is said to
face a possible charge of treason.
We request that our colleague be either freed or, at the very least,
be permitted to see his family and friends and be given a truly open trial,
with defense lawyers of his choice, from abroad if need be, and in the presence
of representatives of the world mathematical community.
In each instance the Committee asked that the Council endorse the
motion, recommending it to the Business Meeting of August 17, 1977, for the
approval. In each instance, the Council concurred.
Professor Karl Hofmann raised with the Council a problem of the
delivery of mail to Russian mathematicians. In the attached letter he cited
the instance of Professor Boris Moisevich Schein, Editor of the Semigroup
Forum. He requested action by the Council. In response, Professor Bers
explained to the Council the following device. One may send a letter to the
home address of an individual (no clerk in a position to receive it) by
registered mail with return receipt requested. When, and if the letter is
not received, as indicated by the failure of return of the receipt, one may
then complain to the United States Postal Service, which in turn complains to
the government of the recipient. That government by international agreement is
liable for a fine of $75, payable to the sender, if the letter is not finally
delivered as evidenced by the receipt. The existence of this agreed liability
is a powerful force in assuring delivery. The Council took no action, but it
was understood that the information would be forwarded to Professor Hofmann.
The Council turned to questions of (a) the editorial content of the
BULLETIN and (b) the place of research announcements in the publication program
of the Society. At its meeting of April 16, 1977, the Council passed a
resolution that "the new expository journal created by the Board of Trustees be
called the BULLETIN of the American Mathematical Society, New Series, and that
it contain research expository articles (chosen by a collegial board of
Associate Editors) and book reviews." It was recognized when the resolution
was passed that the omission of research announcements from the enumerated
content was deliberate. When the minutes of the meeting were circulated, there
was objection to the action from a number of members. These objections, which
are attached, were forwarded to the Committee on Publication Problems, which
decided to consider the questions again.
In presenting the question to the Committee and to the Council, the
Secretary and the Executive Director, after consultation with others, made the
1. That the two questions be separated.
2. That the Council reaffirm its position of April l6, 1977 with
respect to question (a)
3. That the Council consider alternatives to publication of Research
Announcements in the BULLETIN.
Prior to the report of the Committee, the Secretary read the following
telegram from Professor I.M. Singer.
In my opinion, your draft proposal separating the two questions
prejudices the issue. It exceeds your authority of Secretary and is
based on financial not scientific issues. The PP Committee
recommended elimination of Research Announcements largely because
communicators felt harassed by present procedures. The scheme
outlined in my letter would eliminate most of this pressure. The
deletion of Research Announcements from the BULLETIN is an elitist
position. Mathematicians at major institutions and their students
know the new developments prior to publication. It is important
that the mathematical community at large learn quickly what is
current. Please read this cable to Committee and Council.
The Secretary presented his regrets in case the Council thought he had
exceeded his authority and noted that part of the objection raised by certain
members to the April action of the Council was their statement that they had
been insufficiently notified of the possible recommendation of the Committee
on the Publication Problems, a possibility that he was attempting to obviate
at the August meeting.
Professor Duane Bailey reported for the Committee on Publication
Problems. He stated that the Committee had reconsidered its position and
continued to support the resolution adopted by the Council of April 1977 that
the BULLETIN/New Series consist of research expository articles and book
reviews. He stated the recommendation of the Committee that the President
appoint a new ad hoc committee, more nearly reflecting the views of those at
variance with that action, to study the problems associated with Research
The Executive Director Designate distributed the attached fact sheet
on costs of a separate journal of Research Announcements.
There was a motion by Judy Green that an ad hoc committee to study
Research Announcements and to report in January 1978 be authorized and that
until further notice the policies and procedures governing Research
Announcements be reinstated as they operated prior to the meeting of April
The question was divided and the study committee was authorized. The
second half, concerning reinstatement of previous policy, was decided by a roll
call vote ("by fractions") of 10-10, so that the motion did not pass.
There were suggestions that were not formalized as motions and motions
proposed that did not come to a vote. Finally, there was a motion by Hans
Weinberger that there be a moratorium on acceptance of Research Announcements
until the time of the report of the ad hoc committee in January 1978. The
motion was passed. It was agreed that the moratorium should be reported to the
next business meeting and in the NOTICES.
The Council of April 1977 asked for the preparation of a questionnaire
that would be useful to the Council in further consideration of the standards
and place of the TRANSACTIONS and MEMOIRS. Professor Bailey announced that
such a questionnaire had been prepared and had been circulated and reviewed by
the Council. It was agreed that the Secretary would circulate the
questionnaire, receive comments, circulate the comments, receive a second set
of comments, deliver the product to the Editorial Committee of the TRANSACTIONS
and MEMOIRS, and report the product to the Council as an attachment to the
minutes of the January Council Meeting.
During the report of the Committee on Publication Problems, there were
several interruptions, but the action has been reported above as though it
were a continuous effort. There was a dinner break from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM,
and breaks for discussion of the situation of Yeshiva University and for the
executive session as reported below, each of which had a scheduled time.
Professor John Durbin, a member of the Committee on Academic Freedom,
Tenure and Employment Security reported to the Council on the impending closing
of the Belfer Graduate School of Yeshiva University. There were attached
papers describing the situation. Professor Arnold Lebow of the Yeshiva
Mathematics Department was given the privilege of the floor and supplied
Following the advice of the Chairman of CAFTES, as stated in the
attached letter, the Secretary moved that the President be authorized to
appoint a committee to approach Mr. Arthur B. Belfer, to convince him
personally of the quality of the school and the desirability of maintaining
it. There was a friendly amendment to approach Mr. Belfer and such other
persons as may seem suitable and with this amendment the motion was passed.
The vote was unanimous but there were abstentions.
In executive session, the Council accepted the resignation of William
J. LeVeque from the Editorial Committee of MATHEMATICAL REVIEWS and from the
Council. The Editorial Committee recommended Paul T. Bateman as its candidate
to fill the vacancy. The Council elected Professor Bateman to the Editorial
Committee for the remainder of the term through 1979.
The Council was informed that Armand Borel and Hans Weinberger,
nominated by the Council in April 1977 for the position of vice-president, had
declined the nomination. The Nominating Committee proposed the names of:
Jurgen K. Moser
George W. Whitehead
as candidates for vice-president and the Council nominated them.
The Nominating Committee proposed candidates for non-contested
positions as follows:
ASSOCIATE SECRETARY (2 positions)
Kenneth A. Ross
Victor W. Guillemin
Felix E. Browder
MATHEMATICS OF COMPUTATION
Jane Cronin Scanlon
PROCEEDINGS (2 positions)
Robert R. Phelps
TRANSACTIONS (2 positions)
Wilhelmus A.J. Luxemburg
James D. Stasheff
COMMITTEE TO MONITOR PROBLEMS IN COMMUNICATION
Robert M. Baer
Philip t. Church
Joseph J. Kohn
The Council nominated these persons.
The Nominating Committee proposed that the Chairman of the Nominating
Committee and the Secretary be empowered to fill any vacancies in the slate
that may appear between the current meeting and the distribution of the
ballots. The Council passed such a resolution.
The Council returned to open meeting.
The EC/BT suggested that dues effective for the year 1979 be raised by
50%, that is, to $48 per year for persons with professional income. The
suggestion arose as part of the discussion of the financial problems connected
with the BULLETIN. It was envisaged that the BULLETIN would remain a privilege
of membership in exactly the present form of subscription, that is, the EC/BT
rejected the suggestions of rebate in cash or in credit toward another purchase
in exchange for not accepting the BULLETIN. The bylaws lodge the setting of
dues with the Council subject to approval by the BT. The EC/BT noted that
there is considerable advantage in setting the dues for 1979 at the current
meeting rather than waiting for January 1978 in that there is time for the
Trustees to act and then for the publicity and printing schedules to be met.
The Secretary recalled that the dues were raised from $20 per year by Council
action of August 1972, effective January 1974, to the current levels of $32 or
$24, effective January 1974, to the current levels of $32 or $24 depending on
There was a question whether the dividing line of $l5,000 should be
raised. There was a question whether three levels of dues rather than two were
appropriate. The question of justification of the raise in addition to the
request of Trustees was broached. It was pointed out that inflation alone was
enough to account for the proposed increase. It was suggested that the pattern
of dues increases should be increased every year or every other year, rather
then large increases at longer intervals. A motion was finally formulated and
passed that the dues of regular members be raised, effective for 1979, to $48
per year for persons with annual professional income of $l5,000 or more and to
$32 for those with smaller professional income, and that the Trustees be asked
to publish a justification in the NOTICES. It was understood that the increase
would be reported at the Business Meeting.
Professor Leonard Gillman, a former member of the Council, asked in the
attached letter whether it is necessary, or desirable, to have a regular
meeting of the Council in April. The matter was discussed briefly with no
Professor Raymond Ayoub raised a question about Society procedures as
I should like to bring up a question prompted by the issue of the
BULLETIN and the research announcements.
I was not present at the meeting in N.Y. and I do not know what the
vote was. In any event, I should like to propose a change in the
bylaws of the Society to the effect that when an "important" issue
comes before the Council, that a 2/3 majority be required for passage.
It may be argued that the term "important" is hazy and ambiguous. To
these objections, I should like to say that I feel certain that some
procedure can be worked out such as the Executive Committee declaring
an issue to be "important" or the Council itself can, by simple
majority, decide that an issue is important.
If such a procedure were adopted, I think that some of the thorny
issues could be settled without the turmoil that now accompanies them.
Following discussion there was no action.
At the request of the Committee on Committees, the Secretary
communicated with the chairmen of committees with no apparent activity and
reviewed the Council minutes for committee reports that appear final, although
the committee was not discharged. As a consequence of recommendations of
committee chairmen or of the record in the minutes, the Secretary asked that
the following committees be discharged with thanks:
Editorial Advisory Committee on the English Edition of the
Mathematical Society of Japan
Committee on External Membership
Continuing Committee on Graduate Education
Committee on Mathematical Models as Used in Government Decisions
AMS-MAA Committee on Training Graduate Students to Teach.
The Council discharged the committees with thanks. With respect to the first
four, the motion was final. In the case of the fifth, inasmuch as it is a
joint committee, the motion was a recommendation in which concurrence was
The Council had previously recommended Society participation in a
program of the Joint Projects Committee for Mathematics to solicit applications
for a position of Congressional Fellow for 1977-78 and to select and fund the
successful candidate. The Trustees appropriated the funds for the share of the
Society in the venture. There is an attachment of a letter from the JPCM
stating that, acting as a selection committee, it recommended that no
appointment as fellow be offered this year. The JPCM recommended in the same
letter that a fellow be appointed for 1978-79, with early announcement of the
competition. A second letter and attached material describe the program. There
are slight changes in the budget from that previously proposed, so that the
share of the AMS would be $10,000 rather than $9,000. The Council approved
Society participation in the program for 1978-79.
The Society has had, for more than 10 years, a rule that an individual
contributor might publish, at most, one abstract by title per issue of the
NOTICES. (Joint authorship is a separately accountable category and is no part
of the present discussion.) In administering the rule, the Providence office
returns abstracts by title to any contributor who already has two abstracts by
title on file waiting for publication in the two subsequent issues. A
contributor objected on the grounds that he is prolific, is on leave doing
research full time, cannot be accommodated within the rule, and is paying dues
partly for the publication privilege. He had four abstracts returned in a
batch at the time of his complaint, at a time when the Providence office was
already holding four (two more than the canonical two) for future publication.
The covering letter returning the abstracts, the letter from the complainant to
the Providence office objecting to the policy, one from the Secretary
explaining the policy, and a rejoinder by the complainant are attached. The
Council considered various possible modifications of the rule of one abstract
by title per issue. A motion to increase the number to twelve per year did not
pass. Without a formal motion, it was agreed to allow an unlimited backlog to
be held in the Providence office.
The Secretary received a letter from a member who asked that the
Council review the rejection of his abstract by an Associate Secretary. The
Associate Secretary rejected the abstract on the stated grounds that the
theorem was incorrect. The bylaws specify that "Papers intended for
presentation at any meeting shall be passed upon by a program committee
appointed by or under the authority of the Council; and only such papers shall
be presented as shall have been approved by such committee." In practice, this
committee consists of the Associate Secretary with such help as he chooses to
seek. When the controversy arose, the Associate Secretary referred the
abstract by mail to the Committee to Select Hour Speakers of which he is a
member. That Committee concurred (one not responding) in his initial judgment.
The Council by consensus agreed that the correct procedures had been followed
and that the Council would support the position of the Associate Secretary and
take no action.
Professor Judy Green states in a letter that "At least one mathematical
journal, the Fibonacci Quarterly, has notified a potential contributor that
it has imposed a 'temporary moratorium on unsupported manuscripts.'" In
response to her request for a discussion of the point, the Secretary sent the
attached letter of inquiry to the managing editor. The reply, also attached,
came from one of the co-editors, explaining how the journal has an enormous
backlog, segregated into supported and unsupported, papers, but does not have
mandatory page charges.
In 1974, the Society made a survey of publication charges. It is
attached. Subsequent to the report, the Executive Director has learned that
the American Society of Biological Chemists has a mandatory page charge of $40,
soon to be reduced to $25, and a grant equal to the page charge.
A quotation from the minutes of April ll, 1975 is pertinent.
"It seemed to be agreed that were there to be specific instance
of an attempt to enforce such a policy [holding authors individually
responsible for page charges and discriminating against those who
cannot pay them], it could be brought to the attention of the
President, who could protest by letter."
The Council passed the following resolution:
While understanding the financial difficulties of independent
journals, the Council of the AMS urges the Board of Directors
of the Fibonacci Association to look for alternatives to their
moratorium on the acceptance of unsupported papers.
Following the vote, there was some expression of a difference of opinion
whether the communication of the motion to the journal should include some
explanation by the Secretary. On balance, the sentiment appeared to favor
Professor Judy Green, in a letter, quoted a footnote from the book
MATHEMATICS, ITS CONTENT, METHODS, AND MEANING, vol. l, p. 64, as follows:
This section is followed in the original Russian text by two
sections entitled "The essential nature of mathematics" and
"The laws of the development of mathematics." These sections
are omitted in the present translation in view of the fact
that they discuss in more detail, and in the more general
philosophical setting of dialectical materialism, points
of view already stated with great clarity in the preceding
She further stated.
Since this work was prepared by the Editor of TRANSLATIONS of
the AMS and copyrighted by the Society, I would like to know
whether this type of censorship is standard in the preparation
of the translations.
The Secretary wrote almost identical letters to the Chairman of the Committee
on Translations of that time, Edwin Hewitt, and the Editor of the TRANSLATIONS,
Sydney H. Gould. The former is attached, as are both replies. During the
discussion, it appeared that it might not be possible to procure a copy of the
original Russian edition, either for translation or to review to reconsider
whether the original decision not to translate was the correct one. It was
agreed to postpone action until it was learned whether a copy could be found.
Professor Judy Green stated her opinion that the request for
biographical information and candidate's position from the Secretary to the
candidates for election is too prescriptive, particularly the request for a
list of up to five research papers by the candidate. Her letter is attached,
as is one of the letters to candidates to which she objected. She asked for
discussion of the question.
The Secretary noted that there have been three factors influencing the
form of biographical information. The first is a long-standing instruction
from the Council and tradition of presenting the education, professional
appointments, distinguished lectures, and service to the Society of the
The Council recently gave the Secretary two further definite
instructions concerning the solicitation and dissemination of information about
candidates in Society elections. In January 1974, at a time when biographical
information covered candidates for member-at-large and vice-president, the
Council agreed that the:
"...candidate be allowed to make a statement of at most l00 words
without restriction. In addition the candidate is to be asked to
list up to five of her or his research papers."
It was understood from the discussion that the existence of the request
was to be publicized with the information. The information thus received was
added to the standard biography.
In April 1977, the Council passed the following resolution:
All candidates in AMS elections should be invited to contribute
a paragraph of self-identification to be distributed with the
ballot. The contents of the paragraph are to be determined
entirely by the candidate and are subject only to limitation
The request to the candidates was intended to elicit the information to comply
with the three instructions.
The Secretary has interpreted the instructions as all having force. The
Secretary inquired whether the Council, in its resolution of April 1977,
intended to abolish the requirement for a standard biography (education,
appointment, etc.) and the requirement of a specific opportunity to list
There was no formal motion. However, it was pointed out that the
spirit of the April Council resolution might better be followed if it were
emphasized in the request that the furnishing of the information and the format
It was reaffirmed that the same request for information was to go not
only to candidates for the Nominating Committee, but also to candidates for
Dr. LeVeque read the attached statement concerning the new copyright
law effective in 1978. The Council then took two positions. First, subject
to approval of the Trustees, the Society will require the author of a review
to transfer all rights of copyright to the Society. Second, also subject to
approval of the Trustees, the Society will REQUEST the author of a manuscript
to transfer all rights of copyright to the Society with the exception that the
author may retain the right to authorize republication of his work in a volume
of his collected or selected works without payment of royalty to the Society.
In this connection, the Council was aware of a decision of the Trustees in
1964 that the Society may not grant permission to another publisher to reprint
any work extracted from a publication of the Society without the consent of the
author. The wording of the form making the request was to be available to the
Council of January 1978.
Minutes of the Executive Committee and BT of May 1-2, 1977 are
Minutes of the EC/BT by mail, dated June l3, 1977 are attached.
The AMS-MAA-SIAM Committee on Women in Mathematics prepared a report
for the Board of Governors of the MAA. It is attached for information.
At the April meeting, a proxy in writing was offered when a member
departed during the discussion of a motion. At the time of the vote, the
Secretary asked the pleasure of the Council on accepting a vote by proxy and
the Council declined. The Secretary, subsequently, noted that the Council is
governed by Sturgis' Parliamentary Procedure, where voting by proxy is
discussed. The discussion includes these two passages:
In non-profit corporations or organizations, voting by proxy is
legal in most states only if it is authorized by the statute and
provided for in the charter and bylaws of the organization.
All proxies ... must conform strictly to the provision of the
statutes and charters, and to the bylaws of the organization.
The Secretary observed that neither the charter of the Society nor the bylaws
makes any provision for voting by proxy.
Everett Pitcher, Secretary
August l5, 1977