Skip to Main Content

August 1979 Council Minutes


The Council met at 5:05 PM on 22 August 1979 in the Ballroom of the KirbyStudent Center at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

Members present were: R. Ayoub, P.T. Bateman, R.H. Bing, J. Birman, L. Blum, T. Gamelin, R. Graham,P.D. Lax, R.J. Milgram, G.D. Mostow, C.M. Pearcy, E. Pitcher, J. Robinson, K.Ross, L.P. Rothschild, G. Seligman, E. Stein, K. Uhlenbeck, and D. Wagner.

Also present were L. Durst, H., Farrell, R. Hahn, W.J. LeVeque, and J. L.Selfridge.

The privilege of the floor was extended to A. Beck, Jerome Dancis,R.E. Greenwood, D. P. Roselle, A. Rosenberg, and B. Silver. Vice-President Robinson was in the chair initially, replaced by President Lax when he arrived. The minutes of the meeting of 20 April 1979 had been distributed by mail. There was one correction and a second correction with amplification.On p. 4, the resolution concerning Sion Assidon was introduced by ChandlerDavis, a member of the Committee on Human Rights, and not by the Chairman.On p. 7 in the next to last line, place a period after "Alder" and deletethe next four words. In amplification, it should be noted that the enablingresolution, so far as the Society is concerned, for establishing the Fact Finding Committee on Archives was passed on August 23, 1976.

The appointmentof the Committee, with Henry Alder as Chairman, was made jointly by Henry Pollak, President of MAA, and R.H. Bing, President Elect of AMS, and was recorded in a letter dated December 9, 1976, and prepared by Everett Pitcher in agreement with David Roselle. Alder was President Elect of MAA at the time.His term as President was from January 30, 1977 to January 27, 1979. Withthese changes, the minutes of 20 April 1979 were approved.1. An issue concerning the possible establishment of archives of the Societyhad been scheduled on the agenda of this meeting. Reference may be made to theminutes of 20 April 1979, pp. 7-10 with attachments, and to attachments tothese minutes on pages numbered 3001-3032, which were presented to the Councilat the direction of the EC/BT. See the EC/BT minutes of May 11-13, 1979, item6.8. Professor Henry L. Alder, Chairman of the Joint Fact Finding Committeeon Archives, reported for the Committee. The report is attached. The report,together with its appendixes A-T, is on pages numbered 1001-1102.

ProfessorAlder announced that the letter from Dr. Judith R. Goodstein, unavailable whenthe report was prepared was at hand. He distributed copies. It has been adjoined as appendix U on pp., 1103-4. He stated his opinion that the factsnecessary for a decision on Society archives were at hand and that postponementrecommended in the report might not be necessary. Professor Pitcher, a minority of one, presented the minority report ofthe Committee. It is attached, with its own attachments, on pages numbered 2001-2014. In presenting the report, he commented on what he said was afundamental error of Dr. Goodstein and others. A portion of his remarks has been attached to the minority report on pp. 2015-2016. The majority report contained two recommendations. These are thesecond and third paragraphs on p. 1009, the second being alternative to thefirst. The first recommendation, which was placed on the floor was as follows: It is moved that the AMS "consider postponing the final decision once again, this time to seek, on its own, the evaluation of independent experts, both archivists and historians." Shortly after the beginning of the discussion, President Lax arrivedand Vice President Robinson yielded the chair.

As the discussion proceeded, a substitute motion was developed, finally formulated by Professor Ayoub as follows: It is moved that the Council requests the BT to rescind the action [concerning archives] taken in December 1978 and that any further decision concerning the archives be laid over indefinitely until such time as the Council or BT chooses to put it on the table. The substitute motion was accepted by four of the six members of the Committee, who were present, and was passed. A motion to thank the Committeewas passed, but the Committee was not discharged from its duties to theSociety.2. Professor Anatole Beck, with the privilege of the floor, proposed that theCouncil pass the following resolution: That if, at any date after l January 1980, the Business Meeting of the AMS, acting at a national meeting, shall so request, the Council of the AMS shall do whatever is needed to effect a termination of the of the publication agreement between the AMS and the State Publishing House of the USSR.In support, he offered the attached document in the form of a letter to theEditor of the NOTICES: During the discussion, an extract from a letter by Eugene Dynkin toAlex Rosenberg was introduced, as follows: I agree that stopping translations of Russian journals is not a reasonable measure. In anti-Semitic practice, an important role is played by individuals like Pontrjagin (have you seen his autobiography published in Uspekhi, last issue of 1978, where he describes his position rather frankly?) Maybe stopping translation just of one MATEMATICESKII SBORNIK could make sense as a response to the policy of new editorial board. But this could be reasonable only if nobody would pick up the translation. Certainly I am against the break of relations as a general policy.A letter from Boris Korenblum to Alex Rosenberg was introduced and is attached.

During the discussion, the council adjourned for dinner from 6:30 to7:55 PM. Although the motion proposed by Professor Beck was discussed, it wasnot formally introduced. Errors of fact contained in the material from Beckand Korenblum were noted. After considerable discussion, the following motionwas offered by Professor Joan Birman: The Council of the AMS received reports that MAT. SBORNIK discriminatesagainst Jewish Authors. Two pieces of evidence of such a policy are: (i) The very sharp decline in the number of articles by Jewish authors in the past three years, and(ii) The publication of an explicity anti-Semitic attack on N. Jacobson in Uspekhi, Vol. (Reference to be supplied.) The Council deplores this state of affairs. Since MAT. SBORNIK istranslated by the AMS, the Council is eager to receive clarification on thispoint. It was passed with the understanding that it would be communicated tothe Academy of Sciences of the USSR, but that the reference to Jacobson wouldbe deleted if Jacobson so requested. [On August 30, Professor Jacobson didrequest deletion of the passage (ii.)] Professor Stein then offered the following motion: If, before the MAY meeting of the AMS Trustees, no satisfactoryclarification of the Council's inquiry to the Soviet Academy of Science has been received, the Council recommends that the AMS seek to renegotiate the contract with VAAP for translation of Russian journals for the purpose ofdropping the translation of MAT. SBORNIK. It was passed.3.

The EC recommended and the BT, subject to Council action, approved a newseries of books, similar to some commercial series of lecture notes, to beprepared from camera-ready copy. See the minutes of the EC/BT of May 11-13,1979, item 6.5, #2. The proposed name of the series is CONTEMPORARYMATHEMATICS. Books in the series might consist of conference proceedings or oflectures by a single individual and would be accepted by an editorial board.An output on the order of at most ten volumes per year was planned. TheCouncil approved the proposal without the implied limit on the number ofvolumes per year and lodged the editorial responsibility with the EditorialCommittee on Mathematical Surveys.4. The Council noted that separation of the NOTICES into two journals, to becalled NOTICES AND ABSTRACTS. The Council established an Editorial Committeeof the ABSTRACTS, consisting of the Secretary as Chairman and the AssociateSecretaries, all ex officio.5. The report of the AMS-MAA-SIAM Committee on Women in Mathematics isattached. At the top of page 2 of the report is a recommendation from theCommittee that the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics be invited tobe represented on the Committee. The Council approved.6. Professor Ronald Douglas proposed in the attached letter that the Society"require that people who publish papers in AMS journals be members of AMS."He notes exceptions and gives reasons in the letter. The item was on theagenda as unfinished business from the previous meeting. The motion failed.7.

The council of April 1979 placed the following item on the agenda: The Editors of the NOTICES have received a letter with several signatures urging the election of a particular candidate to the Council.The Council instructed the Editors of the NOTICES not to publish such aletter in a previous meeting. The minutes of the Council of January 24,1973 read as follows: The Secretary explained how the EC had instructed him to publishLetters to the Editor in the NOTICES which constitute electioneering forindividual candidates for Society offices. The vote was not binding. See theEC Minutes of Dec. 14-15, 1972, item ll. The EC referred the similar questionfor 1973 to the Council. The difficulty is partly one of timing. Candidatesare not known by the deadline for the June NOTICES. There is littleopportunity for rebuttal with respect to any statements that appear in theAugust NOTICES. Part, but not all, of the membership will have voted when theOctober NOTICES appears. Discussion enlarged the question to the statement bycandidates accompanying the ballot. The motion finally passed was first thatthe Secretary was instructed not to publish in the NOTICES any Letters to theEditor that are campaign material for individual candidates in the 1973election, and second that each candidate for member-at-large or vice-presidentshall have the opportunity to make a statement of not in excess of 100 words tobe included with the material accompanying the ballot. The Council did not consider the substantive issue at the April meetingand the Editors of the NOTICES followed precedent and rejected the letter. At the same time, the Editors requested clarification of the policy. The Councilvoted to maintain for future elections the policy of not publishing in theNOTICES any Letters to the Editor that are campaign material for individualcandidates.8.

The Council passed a motion that it shall be allowable to schedule items onthe programs of the Society which conflict with the third and fourth ColloquiumLectures provided these are not invited hour addresses to the Society.9. Dr. Daniel H. Wagner proposed the following resolution: Resolved: Committees responsible to the Council shall obtain authorization from the Council prior to acting in their committee capacities in ways intended to influence public policy or governmental actions.The motion was amended to read "...authorization from the EC or the Council..."and in that form was passed. At 9:54 the Council went into executive session.

The Council nominated: Lee Lorch Richard S. Millman Roger E. Howefor the positions as member-at-large on the Council, the first two in responseto petitions bearing at least fifty valid signatures.10. The Council received the attached report on the Fulkerson Prize.11. During the open meeting, the Council had received the attached minutes ofthe EC/BT of May 11-13, 1979.12. The Council received the attached financial statements for 1978 and 1977and the auditor's opinion, as reported to the BT.13. It was announced that the Gibbs Lecturer of January 1980 would be StephenWilson of Cornell University.14.

It was announced that the following persons had agreed to presentColloquium Lectures: Wolfgang Schmidt San Antonio, January 1980 Julia Robinson Ann Arbor, August 1980 Mark Kac San Francisco, January 1981.15. It was observed that the time of the Council meeting of January 2,1980 had been set at 4:00 PM, rather than the customary 2:00 PM, slightlyto ease the transportation problem.

The meeting adjourned at 10:00 PM. Everett Pitcher, Secretary August 22, 1979