August 1980 Council Minutes
The Council met on 19 August 1980 at 4:00 PM in the Vandenberg Room of the
Michigan League on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Members present were Raymond Ayoub, Paul Bateman, Frank Birtel, Lenore Blum,
Felix Browder, Philip Church, Chandler Davis, James Donaldson, Ronald Douglas,
Murray Gerstenhaber, Andrew Gleason, Johan Kemperman, W.E. Kirwin, II, Peter
Lax, Lee Lorch, Richard Millman, John Milnor, George Mostow, Jan Mycielski,
Robert Phelps, Everett Pitcher, Marian Pour-El, Kenneth Ross, Mary Ellen Rudin
David Sanches, Jane Scanlon, Stephen Smale, and Daniel Wagner. Also present
were Lincoln Durst, Ruth Hahn, Ellen Heiser, William LeVeque and John
Selfridge. The privilege of the floor was granted to Anatole Beck. President
Lax was in the chair.
1.1 MINUTES OF 10 APRIL 1980: The minutes of the Council meeting of 10 April
1980 had been distributed by mail and were offered for approval. Professor
Lee Lorch noted that his resolution in item 8.1 was incompletely quoted. The
correct version is:
If it is within the power of the Council to direct the deletion of
this sentence, then the passage of this motion shall constitute the issuance of
this directive. If the Council has only the power to recommend, then the
passage of this motion shall constitute its request that the said sentence
He requested that words be inserted in the second line of item 8.6 to make it
read "abused physically 'BY THE POLICE' in San Antonio." This was done.
He durther questioned whether the report of action in item 8.1 was complete.
It was agreed that the Secretary would review his informal records in the
matter. Subject to that review, the minutes were then approved.
The Secretary has, subsequently, conducted the review and affirms that the
record is complete in the following sense. Although there were suggestions
made and arguments advanced and motions or amendments made, but not seconded
which are not recorded, there is no action or agreement by consensus that is
not in the record.
3.1 COUNCIL MEETINGS: The Council meeting of April 1981 is to be set by the
Secretary, under authority delegated by the EC, as soon as the schedule of
scientific meetings for the spring of 1981 is complete.
The EC has set Council meetings as follows:
AUGUST 18, 1981 TUESDAY, in Pittsburgh
JANUARY 12, 1982, TUESDAY in Cincinnati
APRIL 1982 at the discretion of the Secretary
3.2 SUMMER MEETING OF 1982. The Budget Committee (BC) proposed and the EC/BT
recommended to the Council that there be no Summer Meeting in 1982.
Essentially simultaneously, the Executive and Finance Committees and then the
Board of Governors of the MAA considered the motion "Subject to the concurrence
by the AMS, the Board of Governors cancels the August 1982 meeting of the
Although the Council delegated to the EC the power to decide this question for
the Society, the EC preferred to leave it to the Council. The reasons
presented by the BC were these:
(a) the only site available (after extensive exploration) is San Diego
State University; fees there would be quite high and the location is wrong for
anyone planning to go to the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in
(b) Attendance at the meeting at Brown just prior to the ICM of 1978 was small.
(c) The format of Summer Meetings may be reconsidered, particularly if
attendance in Ann Arbor is small; the break would facilitate the
The motion offered to the Council was as follows:
Subject to the concurrence of the MAA, there be no Summer Meeting in
The motion passed. Subsequently, the Board of Governors did not approve the
parallel resolution, so that negotiations for a site for the Summer of 1982
COMMITTEES AND BOARDS
4.1 PUBLICATION OF PROCEEDINGS OF SOCIETY EVENTS: The EC/BT recommended to the
Council that it establish the principle that the Society shall have the right
of first refusal on publication of proceedings of events sponsored by the
Society. The proposed policy would be promulgated by the Executive Director
for grant supported events, by the Associate Secretaries for special sessions,
and by any committee which sponsors events. An example in the last category
is the short courses currently sponsored by the Committee on Employment and
Educational Policy. The Society has in the series CONTEMPORARY MATHEMATICS
a vehicle for such publication in addition to the various symposias series.
The Council established the principle.
4.2 REVIEW OF SOCIETY ACTIVITIES: The Council of 20 January 1980 charged the EC
to "carry out a continuing review and appraisal of the the Society's
activities." An AD HOC Committee reported. See the attachment, which has the
endorsement of the EC. The report proposed that the survey be conducted in a
three year cycle over the categories of:
I. Meetings (1981)
II. Publications (1982)
III. Membership services (1983)
The work on category I is to begin at once. It is broken down into:
Ia. Summer and Annual Meetings
Ib. Regional Meetings
Ic. Symposia, Institutes, and Short Courses
The meeting in Ann Arbor is a testing ground in category Ia.
This information was received by the Council, which deemed no action necessary.
4.3 HUMAN RIGHTS: The Council voted by the required two thirds vote to receive
the report of the Committee on Human Rights even though it had not been offered
in time to be distributed with the agenda. The report was presented by Chandler
Davis, a member of the Committee, and is attached, along with a letter from E.
Brieskorn on the subject of Berufsverbot. The Secretary noted that the letter
and another on the same subject were under consideration for publication in the
NOTICES by the Editorial Committee.
4.4 OPPORTUNITIES IN MATHEMATICS FOR DISADVANTAGED GROUPS: The Council voted
by the required two thirds vote to receive the report of the Committee on
Opportunites in Mathematics for Disadvantaged Groups. The report was presented
by James Donaldson, Chairman of the Committee, and is attached. It contains
items proposed for action, which are to appear on the agenda of the Annual
Meeting of 1981.
7.1 MAT. SBORNIK: The Council of 22 August 1979 passed the following
The Council of the American Mathematical Society has received reports
that MAT. SBORNIK discriminates against 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 explicit anti-Semitic attack on N. Jacobson
in Uspekhi, vol. 33, 1978.
The Council deplores this state of affairs. Since MAT. SBORNIK is
translated by the AMS, the Council is eager to receive clarification on this
The minute states that the resolution "was passed with the understanding that
it would be communicated to the Academy of the Sciences of the USSR, but that
the reference to Jacobson would be deleted from the passage (ii). President Lax
sent the letter requested on 17 December 1979. The following motion was passed
at the same Council meeting:
If, before the May meeting of the AMS Trustees, no satisfactory
clarification 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 of dropping the translation
of MAT. SBORNIK.
The statement was supplemented in the minutes, by consensus of the 2 January
1980 Council, by the sentence:
It is understood that this motion does not bind the Trustees to a
timetable, but leaves them free to use their judgment when to start
The EC/BT of May 1980, deferred action on the Council's motion that the Society
seek to regnegotiate the translations contract with VAAP and decided that a
second letter concerning the subject should be sent. President Lax did write
the second letter, which is attached. There had been no response at the time
of the Council meeting.
Professor Anatole Beck had stated his intention of introducing a motion to the
Business Meeting of 21 August 1980. The text of his reolution, as he presented
it to the Council, was as follows:
That the following motion be placed upon the calendar of the Business
Meeting of the Society for the January 1981 Meeting, and shall be acted upon in
case the Society shall not have discontinued the publication of the translated
edition of Math. Sbornik prior to the beginning of that Annual Meeting:
WHEREAS the Council of the AMS has been unable to elicit an acceptable reply
from the Soviet Union concerning the charges of systematic exclusion of Jewish
mathematicians from publication of MATH. SBORNIK, and
WHEREAS it is the opinion of the overwhelming majority of those American
Mathematicians who have looked into this issue that the discrimination
complained of does actually exist, and
WHEREAS the AMS, by publishing a translated edition of MATH. SBORNIK takes an
active part in promoting the interantional status of this journal, and
WHEREAS the AMS has both a legal and a moral obligation not to be party to such
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:
That it is the urgent will of the membership of the AMS as manifested
through the Business Meeting that the Trustees of the Society forthwith do
everything necessary and sufficient to discontiunue the publication of the
translated edition of MATH. SBORNIK.
At the behest of the Committee on the Agenda, the following motion was offered
to the Council:
In the event that the Council of 21 August 1980 passes the enabling
resolution proposed by Anatole Beck, there shall be a panel discussion
on the substantive motion at the Annual Meeting of the Society in
January 1981 prior to the Business Meeting.
The discussion had several aspects. One concerned broadening the scope of the
panel discussion to other problems of human rights. Another proposed the
holding of the panel discussion without reference to the fate of Professor
Beck's procedural motion. Still another considered the degree to which
scientific policy was involved, with the attendant problems of jurisdiction
between the Council and Trustees. In the course of the discussion, a
substitute motion was imperfectly formulated and Messrs. Beck and Gleason were
asked to prepare a revision. At a later point in the meeting, they returned
with the following draft of a substitute motion:
The Program Committee is requested to organize a panel discussion on
the subject of what actions are appropriate on the part of the Society in
response to well established attacks on the itegrity of the mathematical
community with particular reference to the issue of the translation of
MATH. SBORNIK. This discussion should take place at the San Francisco
meeting in January 1981 prior to the Business Meeting.
However, the draft was not acted upon formally. Instead, there was a
substitute motion by Professor Smale as follows:
The Council asks the Program Committee to organize a panel
discussion on the question odf the AMS discontinuing the translation of
MATH. SBORNIK, to be held prior to the Business Meeting of January 1981.
The motion to substitute was passed and then the substituted motion was passed.
[The motion of Professor Beck was presented to the Business Meeting of 2l
August 1980, where it did not pass.]
8.1 'THIRD WORLD' Professor Raymond Ayoub wrote to the Secretary as follows:
You may know that Jim Eells has, for the past 10 years, been running
a conference in Trieste for "THIRD WORLD" mathematicians. It meets every
summer and has been very successful. But a lot needs to be done.
It would be of mutual benefit if the Society were to become involved
in the needs of the "Third World".
It should like to propose that the EC/BT consider bringing to the
Council a recommendation that the AMS appoint a committee whose charge will be
to bring in recommendations of ways and means by which the Society might be of
service to "Third World" mathematicians and the development of mathematics in
"Third World" countries.
Inasmuch as his letter arrived after the most recent EC/BT meeting, it was
brought directly to the Council.
There was discussion over the meaning and the implications of use of the term
"Third World." Professor Ayoub modified the motion to read:
The Council approves the appointment of a committee by the President
whose task is to bring in recommendations of ways and means by which the
Society might be of service to mathematicians in developing countries.
In that form, the motion was passed.
8.2 NOTICES POLICY ON CIRCULATION OF LETTERS; LETTERS FROM THE COMMITTEE ON
HUMAN RIGHTS. Professor Lee Lorch requested that two items, namely 2.1 and 2.2
of the meeting of 10 April 1980 be discussed. The Council of 10 April had
taken cognizance of these items and chosen then not to discuss them. The
minute on each stated that the item was noted. See item 8.3 for a comment by
the Secretary. No action was requested and the Council declined to discuss
when there was no motion on the agenda.
8.3 FORM OF THE AGENDA: Professor Lee Lorch proposed the following motion:
That the standard item on the Council agenda now called "Information
and Record," be renamed to be "Information, Record and Discussion."
The Secretary observed that he has been instructed by the EC and repeatedly by
Presidents to segregate items of information and record and to put them at the
end of the agenda (accounting for the fact that the sections are not listed in
numerical order) for the declared purpose that they not generate discussion
and thereby use time that should be put on major items of business. When they
used to be at the beginning of the agenda, their presence there sometimes made
it almost impossible to cover the agenda. Following the urging by Professor
Lorch that discussion take place, the motion was defeated.
8.4 FORM OF THE AGENDA (BIS): Professor Lee Lorch proposed the following
That a standing item be inserted in the agenda of each Council meeting,
immediately after the item providing for the adoption of the minutes
of the previous meeting, entitled "Business arising from the minutes,"
to provide opportunity to inquire about and act upon unclear or
incomplete matters, etc.
The Secretary commented that an item of business arising from the minutes could
be introduced into the agenda for the next meeting by a letter to the Secretary
there being a long interval between the distribution of the minutes of a
meeting and the preparation of the agenda for the next meeting. The motion
8.5 PROCEDURES FOR REPORT OF ELECTIONS: Professor Lee Lorch proposed the
That the results, including the number of votes received by each
candidate, of the AMS elections be reported annually, as appears to have
been the case normally with the exception of 1980, to the January meeting
of the Council.
The Secretary observed that the motion was unnecessary. It duplicates a motion
of the Council of January 1979. The fact that the tabulation was not reported
in January 1980 was a failure on the part of the Secretary to follow the
instruction of the Council of January 1979. By mistake, the report was made to
the EC as was proposed to the Council initially.
It was agreed that the report of the election of 1979 would be distributed to
the Council in confidence and that the report of subsequent elections would be
made to the Council in executive session as mandated.
INFORMATION AND RECORD
2.1 MINUTES OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND BOARD OF TRUSTEES: Minutes of the
EC/BT dated 2-3 MAY 1980 were distributed under separate cover in advance of
the Council meeting and are attached.
2.2 BERUFSVERBOT: Dr. Daniel H. Wagner asked that the attached letter
summarizing a view of Professor Dietrich Kolzow concerning Berusverbot, be
circulated to the Council.
2.3 PAGE CHARGES: Attention of the Council was invited to item 6.7 of the
EC/BT minutes of 2-3 May 1980 as a matter of information.
2.4 NOMINTING COMMITTEE: There were no candidates proposed by petition for
the Nominating Committee. Accordingly, President Lax brought the slate for
1980 up to eight by naming:
Guido L. Weiss
2.5 TIME AND EFFORT REPORTS: The attached article concerning OMB Circular A-21
was prepared by Saunders MacLane and was presented for information.
2.6 TIME AND EFFORT REPORTS (BIS). An exchange of letters between Truman
Botts, Executive Director of the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences
on the one side, and James McIntyre, Director of the Office of Management and
Budget and John Lordan, Chief of the Financial Management Branch of OMB on the
other, is attached for information.
2.7 SOPKA: Professor Murray Gerstenhaber, formerly Chairman of the Committee on
Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Employment Security, offered the attached letter
for information only.
2.8 'THE SITUATION IN SOVIET MATHEMATICS': Professor Lee Lorch requested that
the two attached items be circulated.
(1) A letter dated July 17, 1978 from Richard Staples, representing the
corporate attorneys, to Lincoln Durst, concerning the problems posted by
the then contemplated Letter to the Editor quoting an article titled "The
Situation in Soviet Mathematics." See the NOTICES for November 1978,
pp. 495-7. (One must realize that the comments of Mr. Staples refer to an
earlier draft of the article, of which there were several. However, they do
not refer to a similar handout at the Helsinki Congress.)
(2) A letter dated August 16, 1978 from Lee Lorch to Ed Dubinsky, a member
of the NOTICES Editorial Committee, concerning other problems with respect
to the same article.
Professor Lorch proposed that the Secretary add other items. There is a
mountain of paper on the subject, so the Secretary added:
(3) The minute of the Editorial Committee of August 10, 1978.
(The communication with MR was in fact between a member of the MR
Editorial Committee and a member of the BT.)
(4) The minutes of the BT dated 20 September 1978.
2.9 PAUL ALTHAUS SMITH: The Council noted with sorrow the death of Althaus
Smith. The President instructed the Secretary to write the appropriate
2.10 KAZIMIERZ KURATOWSKI: The Council noted with sorrow the death of
Kazimierz Kuratowski. The President instructed the Secretary to write the
The meeting adjourned at 6:10 PM.
Everett Pitcher, Secretary
August 19, 1980