August 1982 Council Minutes
The Council met in the Governing Council Chamber of Simcoe Hall on the campus
of the University of Toronto August 22, 1982, at 5:00 PM. Members present
were S. Armentrout, M. Artin, R.G. Ayoub, R.G. Bartle, F. Browder, D.L.
Burkholder, P.A. Fillmore, F.W. Gehring, A.M. Gleason, P.R. Halmos, A.J.
Hoffman, M. Jerison, W.B. Johnson, L. Keen, W.E. Kirwan II, L. Lorch, M.
Lowengrub, R. J. Milgram, R.S. Millman, J.W. Milnor, M. S. Montgomery,
M. Newman, E. Pitcher, M.B. Pour-El, J.B. Robinson, M. Rudin, P.J. Sally,
Jr., D.A. Sanchez, J.C. Scanlon, H.J. Sussmann, R.O. Wells, Jr., and L. A.
Zalcman. Also present were L.K. Durst, R. Hahn, R. Harty, E. Heiser, W.J.
Leveque, J. Mesirov, and J.L. Selfridge. The privilege of the floor was
granted to Ed Dubinsky, Mary Gray, and Israel Halperin. President Gleason
was in the chair.
1.1 MINUTES OF 16 MARCH 1982. These minutes had been distributed by mail and
1.2 MINUTES OF BUSINESS BY MAIL OF 21 APRIL 1982: These minutes are attached
and were approved.
1.3 MINUTES OF BUSINESS BY MAIL OF 13 JULY 1982: There was no objection raised
to the consideration of these minutes. They are attached and were approved.
5.1 PRESIDENT'S REQUEST TO INTERPRET RULE: The President requested that as the
first order of business, prior to the consideration of the stated agenda, the
Council clarify interpretations of one of its own standing rules. It is the
following rule passed by the Council of 3 January 1979.
An item which is not on the written agenda for a
Council meeting and/or is not circulated to the
Council membership in advance of the meeting shall
require a 2/3 vote of the Council members present
to be placed on the agenda at a meeting. Any member
present may challenge an issue as 'not on the agenda'
even if it is raised in connection with an agenda
item. The chairperson will then rule on the matter,
subject to the usual rules of overruling.
The questions concerned the meaning and scope of the words "circulated" and "in
advance." Professor Lee Lorch related the question to items 8.3 and 8.4 below
whose status might be affected by a change in interpretation. President Gleason
ruled that items 8.3 and 8.4 were on the agenda. The Council then amended the
rule by inserting underlined words in the first sentence to make it read "...is
not circulated BY THE SECRETARY to the Council membership...". In
interpretation of the phrase "in advance," the Council took note that the
secretary is bound in two contrary ways, to circulate agenda early enough that
Council members can be assured of receiving them and as late as possible to
allow for currently pressing business. These considerations determine his
mailing date. It was agreed that he should confirm the receipt of each item
offered for the agenda.
COMMITTEES AND BOARDS
4.1 POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIPS: THE EC/BT considered with favor a proposal that
the AMS Postdoctoral Fellowship be re-directed to apply to persons three to
five years past the Ph.d. See EC/BT minute 6.8 of 13-16 May 1982. A study
group consisting of Mary Ellen Rudin, Paul Sally, and Emery Thomas considered
the proposal and thought it very good. They favored an interval of four to
seven years past the Ph.D. rather than three to five. They observed that the
fellowship would no longer compete with the NSF POSTDOCTORAL Fellowships, which
now seem sufficient in number. They further noted that the fellowship would
point the need for a mid-level fellowship and the wish of the mathematical
community for such fellowship to exist. (Historial note: The AMS Postdoctoral
Fellowship was established when there were no NSF Postdoctoral Fellowships and
effectively served precisely those purposes.)
The study group concurred in the spirit of the attached comment of Paul
Rabinowitz, Chairman of the Committee on Postdoctoral Fellowships, that one
might wish to restrict the competition to persons not holding a fellowship in
the immediate past or to persons with a stated amount of teaching experience.
It was noted that a mid-level fellowship might carry a higher stipend than a
postdoctoral fellowship and one might ask where the money is to come from.
The Council accepted the proposal in principle and left the details to the
Committee on Postdoctral Fellowships and the EC. It was noted that the
competition of January 1983 is not affected.
4.2 PROFESSOR ETHICS: The EC requested that the President be authorized to
appoint a committee on professional ethics. Item 5.8 of the minutes of the EC
of 13-16 MAY 1982 is a reference. President Elect Julia Robinson wrote as
Lipman Bers suggested the Council establish a Committee on
Professional Behavior in connection with two cases of abuses
by referees. Such a committee would provide a dignified
recourse to mathematicians who believe they have been wronged
by a colleague. The committee, of course, would decide whether
to investigate a complaint and if so, use its prestige to
settle disputes amicable whenever possible. The committee
would also have the discretion to suggest standards.
Professor Halmos proposed the following motion:
The Council requests the President to appoint a committee on
Professional Ethics. The first charge of the committee should
be to formulate its own charge, and, inparticular, to determine
whether it applies to matters of publication or refereeing only
or to more general matters. Once the charge is formulated it
should be brought back to the Council for approval.
The motion was seconded and passed.
4.3 SCIENCE POLICY REPORTS. It was proposed informally by the EC that the
Council request the Science Policy Committee to report to the membership
somewhat regularly in the NOTICES. After discussion, the issue was postponed
temporarily. Later, Professor R. O. Wells, Jr. and F. W. Gehring returned with
a motion as follows:
The Council invites the Science Policy Committee to report
regularly on its activities both to the membership of the
Society through publication in the NOTICES and to the Council
itself at its meetings.
The motion was seconded and passed.
7.1 MASSERA: The Council of 16 March 1982, endorsed the proposal that the
Society be listed as a supporter of the International Campaign-Massera,
subject to the formal approval of the Committee on Human Rights of Mathe-
maticians. That approval has been given and the international Compaign-
Massera has been notified of Society support. This item was offered for
7.2 MASSERA (bis) Professor Eduardo D. Sontag wrote as follows:
As you know, the case of Professor Massera is very serious
and has reached a critical stage. His health has deteriorated
considerably; in particular, he suffers high blood pressure,
but has been denied the appropriate medication. Torture and
advance age (67) have taken their toll. There have been
repeated requests by the Council and by the Human Rights
Committee, as well as by other groups throughout the world,
for Massers's freedom.
As chairman of the Committee on Human Rights, he proposed for the Committee the
The President of the Society is requested to transmit the following
petition to the relevant authorities in Uruguay. This petition is
to be made available for signing by individual mathematicians during
the Toronto summer meeting.
This is the text of the petition:
The undersigned mathematicians, are deeply disturbed by the extrememly
long and severe imprisonment of their colleague, Jose' Luis Massera,
appeal to the government of Uruguay, on humanitarian grounds, to
release Professor Massera from prison and to allow him and his wife
to leave Uruguay without delay.
On request of Professor Sontag, Professor Israel Halperin, one of the Directors
of the International Campaign-Massera, was allowed the privilege of the floor
in this matter.
The Council passed the motion proposed by Professor Santag.
7.3 BIR-ZEIT: (This item was actually considered at the end of the session,
but is reported at its position on the agenda). The Council of 16 March 1982,
considered the following resolution:
The Council of the AMS calls upon the government of Israel to
reopen, forthwith, Bir Zeit University, a Palestinian university
on the West Bank, which the Government military representatives
closed on February 16, only a few weeks after it had been reopened
following a two-month suspension which had begun November 4. The
University closing was ordered for the second two-month period in
the same academic year as collective punishment for student
demonstrations and was accompanied by placing under house or town
arrest of the University administration, the student council and
other members of the university community. Under the closure order,
faculty members (as well as students) are barred from the
university so that they have no access to research facilities
including their own notes in their offices, thus threatening normal
research activities, mathematical among them, with serious
disruption, as is the entire educational program.
The issue was referred to the Committee on Human Rights of Mathematicians,
which reported by letter from its Chairman, Professor Eduardo D. Sontag. The
first two paragraphs are as follows:
Our Committee has now considered the item "Bir-Zeit", referred
to us by the Council. We note that Bir-Zeit University has now
been reopened; thus Professor Gray's motion is inappropriate with
its present wording. We feel, however, that some action by the
Council is indicated.
Although there is disagreement on many points among the various
sources we consulted, the fact seems clear: the Israeli government
has resorted to collective punishment measures against the student
body and faculty. These measures were taken in response to violent
incidents in which members of the University community were involved.
As a result, not only was the University closed for teaching activities
but access to their offices was denied to faculty. Furthermore, in at
least one case, a mathematics professor--Dr. Carmela Armanios, a
Palestinian who is a citizen of Israel--was forbidden to enter the
entire West Bank, without trial and for what appears to be purely
The Committee then proposed an alternative motion, as follows:
The Council of the AMS regrets the closing of Arab West Bank
universities in what appears from a distance to be "collective
punishment" for acts of individual students. If individuals are
committing illegal acts, they and they alone should be punished.
The stopping of educational processes for an entire student body
is a severe action that we cannot approve of.
In a letter dated five days later, Professor Sontag wrote as follows:
After our Committee meeting, we received news that Bir-Zeit has
been closed again, this time for a 3-month period. This closing
followed student demonstrations a couple of days earlier. (It
should be remarked that there were demonstrations on other campuses
in Israel, at about the same time which, however, did not result in
university closings. Clearly, Bir-Zeit has been singled out for
"special treatment"). The Council may wish to add a sentence to
the substitute motion requesting the re-opening of Bir-Zeit.
Professor Sontag further wrote as follows:
I should also add that a couple of committee members have expressed
the feeling that this issue took us outside our main charge of dealing
with the defense of individual mathematicians. Although we did give
an opinion, in the enclosed letter, at the request of the Council,
these members feel that our Committee should not get involved in
issues not dealing with specific individuals.
Attachments consist of a letter from Lawrence Zalcman dated 18 May 1982, a
response from Mary Gray, dated May 26, and a rejoinder by Zalcman dated July 6.
Each has its own attachments. There is also an article from the Chronicle of
Higher Education on the recent closing.
On request of Professor Sontag, Professor Mary Gray was given the privilege of
A letter from Joseph A. Wolf, a former member of the Council, concerning the
propriety of this agendum is attached.
On a motion by Professor Paul Halmos, debate was limited to one hour. The
President ruled that speeches should be limited to five minutes. After the
hour of debate, the Council voted on the alternative motion. It failed.
7.4 EDITOR FOR THE TRANSACTIONS; In Executive Session, the Council resolved the
question left open in minute 1.3. Paul H. Rabinowitz resigned as a member of
the Editorial Committee of the TRANSACTIONS and MEMOIRS and of the Council. In
accord with precedent, the Editorial Committee was asked to recommend a
replacement. The election of a replacement lies with the Council, with the
approval of the Trustees, according to the bylaws (VIII, 4). The Editorial
Committee recommended Joel A. Smoller. The Council by mail ballot cast 25-1/2
votes in favor of electing Smoller and 5-1/2 votes requesting postponement of
the question. A file of pertinent correspondence is attached. The Executive
Committee had the opportunity to review the issues and took the position that
it sees no reason for the Council to act, other than in accord with the
recommendation of the Editorial Committee. The Council elected Smoller to the
Editorial Committee and to the Council. The Secretary agreed to include the
giving of attention to minority candidates for uncontested offices in his
charge to the Nominating Committee.
8.1 SPECIAL SESSIONS: THE following minute of the Council of 21 January 1976,
is quoted in its entirety:
The Council passed a motion that an individual should not accept
more than one invitation to speak at a special session at a single
meeting of the Society. It was suggested, but not incorporated in
the formal motion, that exceptions be referred to the Secretary.
The attached letter from Richard Askey, from time to time an organizer of
special sessions, requested that the restriction be removed. The Council
repealed the motion.
8.2 MATHEMATICAL NEWSLETTER: Professor Raymond Ayoub proposed in the attachment
that the Society establish a periodical Mathematical Newsletter. The proposal
was distributed to several interested and knowledgeable persons. Dr. Howard L.
Resnikoff, a member of the Trustees' Committee on the Publication Program,
responded in a letter which is attached.
The EC reported as follows:
The EC considered the Ayoub proposal at length and does not recommend
its adoption in the present form at the present time. An analysis of
the proposal suggests that it might consist of about 3,000 pages a
year. Surely, very few people would read that much. Abstracts
prepared by the authors of major works are not so likely to reach a
general audience as expositions prepared by others. However, there
is less motivation for these others to do such writing. Thus the
EC thinks that the proposal would be difficult to achieve and, once
achieved, would not be effective.
At the same time, the EC thinks that some version of the proposal
should be kept in reserve for future consideration.
The Council adopted the position offered by the EC.
With respect to the two items 8.3 and 8.4, Professor Lee Lorch had stated that
he submitted these two resolutions to the Secretary in a letter dated July 12.
The Secretary was in his office every business day from 12 July until 27 July.
The deadline for material for the agenda was 23 July and the agenda were mailed
on 27 July. The originial of Lorch's letter was never received. The Secretary
received a second mailing of a copy of 5 August with cover letter dated 30
July. The wording was altered subsequently through an exchange of
correspondence. The President ruled, as has been noted, that these two items
were properly on the agenda.
8.3 COUNCIL MEETING OF AUGUST 1983. Professor Lorch presented the following
If the International Congress of Mathematicians, originally scheduled
for August 1982, is held in August 1983 (as announced by the EC of the
International Mathematical Union, subject to verification in November
1982 by the IMU Executive), then the AMS will follow the examples it
set for the two preceding ICM's (1974 Vancouver, 1978 Helsinki) by not
holding a Council meeting in August 1983. Further, this decision will
be reported to the January 1983 Council meeting at which time there
will be an agenda item to decide whether to dispense entirely with
Council meetings between April 1983 and January 1984 (similarly to
what was done in connection with one recent ICM) or to schedule a
Council meeting for the fall of 1983 (similarly to what was done in
connection with another recent ICM).
The Secretary noted that when ICM 82 in Warsaw was a possibility, the EC
nevertheless set a Council meeting in August 1982.
On a motion by Professor Sally, the motion was postponed until January 1983.
8.4 PRESIDENTIAL PARDON FOR CHANDLER DAVIS: Professor Lorch presented the
** The Council of the AMS calls upon the President of the United States
to pardon Professor Chandler Davis, who was convicted of Contempt of
Congress for his refusal to answer questions concerning his political
affiliations by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Further,
the Council requests the President to take all steps permitted by law
to clear Professor Davis's record of any stain of criminality arising
from this episode.
There are two attachments, namely, minute of 8.3 of 10 April 1980, and minute
4.la of 18 August 1981, which bear on this same issue.
By consensus the words "calls upon" were changed to "urges" and the words "of
the United States" were inserted following "President" in the second sentence.
The Secretary has inserted a comma in the first sentence.
The motion was passed. The Secretary has adjoined a historical note to these
INFORMATION AND RECORD
2.1 EC/BT MINUTES OF 13-16 MAY 1982. These minutes were distributed under
separate cover and are attached.
2.2 SUMMER RESEARCH CONFERENCES: The Secretary made an editorial change in a
committee name from Committee on Summer Conferences to Committee on Summer
Research Conferences. It saves explanations in other contexts to have the
more specific name.
2.3 CBMS: The report from the Chairman dated July 15, 1982 is attached.
2.4 RESTRICTIONS IN DEFENSE/ACADEMIC CONTRACTS: Professor Marian Pour-El
asked that the attached news article from Chemical and Engineering News be
distributed to the Council.