January 1978 Council Minutes
MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING DATED JANUARY 3, 1978
The Council met in the Stuart Room of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in
Atlanta on Tuesday, January 3, 1978 at 2:00 PM. Members present were S.
Armentrout, R. Ayoub, D. Bailey, R. Bartle, P. T. Bateman, W. Browder, T.A.
Chapman, C.W. de Boor, J. Donaldson, R. Douglas, R. Griego, R.C. Kirby, P.D.
Lax, W.A.J. Luxemburg, H. McKean, R. J. Milgram, F. Peterson, E. Pitcher, J.
Robinson, H. Rossi, L. Rothschild, L. Rubel, S. Shatz, B. Simon, I. Singer,
S. Smale, J. Stasheff, E. Stein, G. Whitehead, and J. Wolf. Also present were
L. Durst, R. Hahn, W.J. LeVeque, and H. MacDonald. The privilege of the floor
was extended at various times to L. Barrett, C. Davis, W. Fleming, J. Green,
G. Laison, C. Morawetz. President Bing was in the chair.
1. The minutes of the Council of 15 August 1977 had been distributed
by mail. It was noted that a few copies were distributed with an error (a
confusing omission of some lines) on p. 6 in the tabulation of nominations.
All persons who received copies with the error were sent a page labeled
CORRECTED COPY. The minutes in the corrected version were approved.
2. The minutes of the EC/BT of 10-11 December 1977 are attached.
3. The Trustees passed a resolution of appreciation for the work of
Gordon Walker at the time of his retirement. A facsimile of the certificate
is attached to these minutes.
4. The report of the Tellers of the Election of 1977 is attached,
together with an extract from the attachment to their report. The full report
is on file. President Bing introduced and welcomed the new members of the
Council who were present.
5. The Secretary reported that the Committee to Monitor Problems in
Communication had elected Duane Bailey to be its Chairman. Accordingly, he
continues as a member of the Council.
6. The report of the Tellers for the Election of 1977 to the Nominating
Committee is attached.
7. It was noted that the next meeting of the Council is in Columbus
on Thursday, March 23, 1978, that there was no meeting scheduled for August
1978, and that the following meeting was scheduled for January 23, 1979, in
Biloxi. Notwithstanding the absence of a Council meeting, there is to be a
business meeting in Providence in August 1978, that being required at a
Summer Meeting by the bylaws.
8. The Council had requested that a justification of the increase in
dues be presented to the members through the NOTICES. It was decided to do
this through a letter from the Treasurer, accompanied by a table of the
finances of the Society over a span of several years, past and future. A draft
of the letter is nearly in final form and is attached.
9. The AMS-MAA-SIAM Committee on Women in Mathematics prepared a
report for the MAA Board of Governors. It is attached for information.
10. The Council had asked that cases on the effectiveness of blind
refereeing be solicited. The Society provided two points of contact, Past
President Lipman Bers and Everett Pitcher. There were volunteer points of
contact, including Mary Gray and J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr. The Secretary received
one long-hand account, which is attached. He received a letter from R.F.
Drenick concerning the handling of a paper that he had submitted to the
Proceedings. Dr. Wilkins received no response and Professor Gray received
none that she thought informative. The response of Professor Bers is attached.
Following discussion there was no proposal for action.
11. The EC/BT had contemplated some of the problems that have arisen
in administering the program of serving an institutional affiliation for grant
applicants. When the Council of April 11, 1976 instituted the program, the
motion was that the Society "serve as the institutional affiliation for
mathematicians in need of such affiliation who want to apply for research
grants." A difficulty stems from the word "need," which was not defined by the
Council. In passing its motion, the Council reviewed a report in which three
classes of potential applicants were designated, namely:
(i) Unemployed mathematicians
(ii) Mathematicians with an employer unwilling or unable to act as a
(iii) Mathematicians at universities who, because their employment at
at the university is temporary or because the overhead rate is
exorbitant or because the overhead collected does not benefit
either the university or the mathematical community, may prefer
to apply for a grant through the AMS.
In the absence of a precise definition of the group to be served, the
Liaison and Finance Committees have been using it as the definition. The
program was instituted with a three year trial period. The applications
associated with the second year have for the most part appeared. The EC and
Trustees contemplated the difficulties that were presented. The Society's
attorney was consulted concerning them. A few points were called to the
attention of the Council.
The NSF did agree to "consider proposals from the American Mathematical
Society on behalf of mathematicians who have no other institutional
affiliation." The Society went far beyond that category. There is an attached
letter from E. Creutz, formerly Assistant Director for Mathematical and
Physical Sciences and Engineering. The AMS is in the position of collecting
overhead while the research mathematician may reasonable be supposed to be
using facilities, such as library, of an institution which is not compensated.
The AMS is in a weak position to certify that the requisite time and effort
have been expended, and, as one conducting a non-standard operation, is a
target for review of practices in his respect. There are other difficulties,
noted in the letter from Dr. Creutz.
The Trustees were especially concerned about the problems related to
mathematicians who fall in category (iii). They note that there is a very
strong competitor to the existing system of making grants to individuals,
following peer evaluation, with institutional monitoring of expenditure. It is
the repeatedly proposed system of block grants to institutions, with subsequent
allocation of fund by the institution. It is thought by many, including some
Trustees, that egalitarian distribution of funds are the expense of proposals
of merit might result. The argument is advanced that support of persons in
category (iii) fosters the conflict between employer and employee and thereby
enhances the case of the advocates of block grants.
Attention was called to item 34 of the minutes of the EC/BT of December
The EC/BT, in consultation, took two actions.
(1) They recommended that applications from persons in category (iii)
not be submitted by the Society. While the support of these
individuals is not an obligation, they prefer to deny it with the
concurrence of the Council.
(2) They authorized the appointment of a committee to review the
operation of this program.
In recognition of item (1), the Trustees deferred the forwarding of
proposals already received from individuals in category (iii) until after the
meeting of the Council on January 3, 1978 and agreed to reject such proposals
received in the interim (probably the empty set).
There was discussion of several points, including clarification of the
fact that without category (iii) the Society was still in a position to serve
persons who hold temporary appointments as members of category (ii).
A motion to concur in the elimination of category (iii) from the class
to be served was passed. In the course of the discussion there was an
amendment proposed to eliminate all three categories and a request to divide
the question. The President ruled that any consideration of categories (i) and
(ii) should take place at another meeting after due notice to the members of
12. Professor Wendell Fleming, Chairman of the COMMITTEE ON EMPLOYMENT
AND EDUCATION POLICY, presented the attached report. It contains the following
It is the sense of the Council of the AMS that regular use of
terminal ONE-YEAR FULL-TIME TEACHING POSITIONS IS DEGRADING to
the holder, wasteful to the institution, and harmful to the
Following discussion, President Bing yielded the chair to President
Elect Lax and offered a substitute motion. Following brief discussion of the
substitute, it was agreed to postpone action until later in the meeting, with
a request to president Bing and Professor Ayoub to reformulate the proposed
At a later point in the meeting the reformulated text, subsequently
slightly amended by consent, was presented. It read as follows:
It is the sense of the Council of the AMS that mathematics faculty
positions should be filled by professional mathematicians working
under conditions conducive to their mathematical development. The
Council holds that the systematic use of one-year appointments to
fill regular teaching positions has the potential for the exploitation
of such individuals and is not in the best interests of mathematics.
The motion was passed. It was requested that the text appear in the NOTICES.
The President requested that all present think how the resolution could be used
13. The Trustees agreed that AUTHORS OF REVIEWS for MR shall be
REQUIRED to agree that their reviews fall under the provisions of Section l0l
of the U.S. copyright law of 1976 as "a work specially ordered or commissioned
for use as a contribution to a collective work," with all rights, including
copyright, residing with the Society. Reference is made to item 48 in the
minutes of the Trustees of December 10-11, 1977. This item was presented to
the Council for information only.
14. The Council of AUGUST 15, 1977 EXPRESSED THE OPINION that the
Trustees SHOULD NOT REQUIRE THE TRANSFER TO THE SOCIETY OF COPYRIGHT for
articles submitted for publication but SHOULD ONLY REQUEST IT. The Trustees
contemplated the possible difficulties and the practices of other
organizations. They ASKED the Council to RECONSIDER the position.
Specifically, the TRUSTEES RECOMMENDED TO THE COUNCIL THAT THE SOCIETY REQUIRE,
AS A CONDITION OF PUBLICATION IN ITS JOURNALS, THE TRANSFER OF ALL RIGHTS OF
COPYRIGHT WITH THREE EXCEPTIONS.
(l) The Author reserves the right to refuse permission to third
parties to republish all or part of his article, or translation
thereof, in any form. However, the AMS may grant such right with
respect to entire books or journal issues as a whole.
(2) The Society agrees to grant permission to reprint his article
in a volume of collected or selected works of the author(s) and to
waive any fees for such republication.
(3) The Society also agrees to authorize reprinting by third parties
if requested to do so by the author at any time two or more years after
the date of original publication by the Society.
The COUNCIL APPROVED the position proposed by the Trustees. It was
noted that the second exception conforms to an action of the Council of August
15, 1977. See p. ll of those minutes.
15. Professor Lee Rubel had asked that the following question
concerning MEETINGS be put on the agenda. He advised the BADGES to be much
more legible and proposed as one possibility the lettering of badges be in
large black letters. Both the Joint Committee on Places of Meetings and the
EC/BT considered the problem and possible solutions.
In the present system, there are three copies of the badge produced
simultaneously on a bulletin typewriter, the one worn by the member, the
receipt given to the member, and the stub for cash control. All three are
essential. Their simultaneous production is an economy. Moreover, for
participants who register at the meeting, there is saving of time that prevents
waiting in long lines.
Now that preregistration is recorded on the computer in Providence, the
possibility of using the same computer for composition and printing by Photon
to produce large and very black letters of high legibility was considered. It
is not possible to use this equipment at the meetings. It appeared that this
would be quite expensive and that the MAA was unwilling to concur.
Although badges produced at the meetings by bulletin typewriter can be
moderately improved by supplying a new ribbon for the rental typewriter used in
this production, this was not sufficient to satisfy the wish of Professor
Rubel. Thus, the EC/BT proposed that one both produce the better typewritten
badges and institute the following procedure. A member who has registered may
borrow a soft tip pen and either enhance his badge or turn in his badge for a
blank one on which to place his name as large as space permits. The Trustees
approved the additional costs. The new system can be effective at the meeting
of August 1978 in Providence. Professor Rubel agreed that this proposal met
his objections to the current system.
16. Professor Barbara Osofsky, whose term on the Council had just
ended, proposed the following motion:
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 Secretary moved her resolution. The motion was PASSED. It was agreed that
the vote called for in the motion would be by roll call ("by fraction") and
that its use would obviate the need for a supplementary agenda as it has been
used in the past.
17. Professor Joan Birman presented the case for FREE MEMBERSHIPS AND
SOME FREE PUBLICATIONS for several RUSSIAN mathematicians who are in political
limbo. (Some or all are 'REFUSNIKS.') The Secretary noted that he could grant
such a request on the basis of a standing general authorization without Council
approval in the specific instance, but that he sought approval nonetheless
because it was a relatively large class to whom the privilege was to be
extended. The Council APPROVED.
18. Professor Lenore Blum raised a question with respect to the
MEETING SCHEDULED FOR BILOXI IN JANUARY 1979. She read the attached letter,
submitted as a Letter to the Editor of the NOTICES. She noted that Mississippi
is amoung the States which have not ratified the EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT. The
Secretary explained the procedures and the time schedule involved in setting
the time and place of an annual meeting jointly with the Mathematical Society
of America. He informed the Council that the Society had a firm contract with
hotels to hold the meeting in Biloxi. Although during the discussion there
were proposals tentatively made to the Council, these were withdrawn and the
Council took no action.
19. The COMMITTEE ON OPPORTUNITIES IN MATHEMATICS FOR DISADVANTAGE
GROUPS presented the attached report, prepared by outgoing Chairman Raymond
20. The JOINT PROJECTS COMMITTEE FOR MATHEMATICS presented the
attached annual report. The EC viewed with concern the possibility that item
(4) constitutes competition between Society supported JPCM and the AMS-SIAM
Committee on Applied Mathematics and that item (6) may similarly present
competition between JPCM and the regional conferences of the Conference Board
of the Mathematical Sciences. However, the Committee requested no Council
21. The EC has been concerned about the person who naturally should be
MEMBERS of the Society and ARE NOT. The EC recommended to the Council that a
standing Committee on Membership be authorized and charged to explore ways in
which membership in the Society may be encouraged and to promote membership.
The Committee was AUTHORIZED.
22. Professor Murray Gerstenhaber, Chairman of the Committee on
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PROCEDURES, sought guidance from the Council. Since the
Council returned an earlier report of the Committee for possible
reconsideration (see the minutes of August 23, 1976, Page 2), the situation has
changed in that there are very few appointments being made and no way to
enforce compliance. He suggested that the Society should endorse the
affirmative action principle and the Committee should endorse the affirmative
action principle and the Committee should undertake an educational function
rather than the design of procedures as in its charge. He inquired whether the
latter proposal met the wishes of the Council and offered to prepare an article
in that direction. There was Council concurrence by consensus.
The Council went into Executive Session, where Professor Gerstenhaber
reported in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on Academic Freedom,
Tenure, and Employment Security. The report concerned the status of several
cases in which the Committee is involved. It was agreed that his remarks
should not appear in any minutes. There was a vote of thanks to Professor
Gerstenhaber for his strong leadership of the Committee. It was noted that
his term is at an end and that the Chairmanship has been assumed by Professor
23. The Secretary reported on problems that arose in the 1977 ELECTION.
There has been trouble in recent years with mail service in connection with the
ballots. The wording in the bylaws no longer matches the reality of postal
service. It states:
An official ballot shall be sent to each member of the Society
by the Secretary on, or before October 10, and such ballots, if
returned to the secretary in envelopes bearing the name of the
voter and received within thirty days, shall be counted.
It is not clear whether the interval of thirty days is to be counted
from the date of mailing or October 10. For several years, the Secretary (with
the aid of the staff in Providence) has been mailing ballots earlier than
October 10, but not having the count instituted until a little past November
10. In 1977, ballots were mailed in the interval September 29-October 5. It
became apparent that a substantial number of ballots had not been received
by November 10, so the poll was kept open through November 21, by which time
the flow of incoming ballots was down essentially to zero.
The Secretary raised this problem with the EC/BT. One solution that
has been repeatedly proposed is that ballots be mailed by first class mail.
The ballot package by third class costs about two cents and by first class
would cost twenty four cents. The difference comes to more than $3,000, an
amount that the Trustees were unwilling to appropriate if there is any other
solution. The EC/BT concurred in the plan that the Secretary proposed for
the 1978 election.
First, the Nominating Committee was asked to complete its work in time
for the March meeting of the Council. Second, the Secretary proposed to
solicit biographical information from highly probable candidates, notifying
them in the request that it is possible that they will be candidates, thus
accelerating the process of collecting information. Third, the mailing has
been scheduled for about September 1, but the ballots still will not be
counted until after November 10.
The Council raised no objection to this plan.
24. The COMMITTEE ON DISMISSED MATHEMATICIANS submitted the attached
report. It was accompanied by a file of material that is not attached. It
contains both the resignation of the chairman and his recommendation that the
Committee be dissolved. The Council DISCHARGED THE COMMITTEE WITH THANKS.
25. The Council of January 21, 1976 established the EDITORIAL BOARD OF
THE NOTICES, in a motion which began as follows:
The Editorial Board of the NOTICES shall consist of the Executive
Director ex officio without vote, the Secretary ex officio with vote,
and six other voting members ...
The Secretary and the Executive Director requested that this motion be altered
to replace the Executive Director by the Deputy Executive Director. The
The Council adjourned for dinner at 5:45 PM and reconvened at 8:00.
26. Professor Lipman Bers, Chairman of the COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS
OF MATHEMATICIANS, presented the attached status report on a number of
oppressed individuals concerning whom the Committee had recent information.
The council agreed to the publication of a revised version in the NOTICES.
27. Professor Lipman Bers had agreed to read the chapter of the
Russian book, MATHEMATICS; ITS CONTENT, METHODS AND MEANING by A. D.
Aleksandrov et al, that was not translated when MATHEMATICAL MONOGRAPH NO. l
was prepared. His report is attached. He recommended to the Executive
Committee that the chapter be translated. Professor Bers amplified his report
in person for the Council. The Executive Committee had discussed the problem,
particularly the difficulties of effective distribution, were the translation
to be made. The Executive Committee recommended to the Council that NO FURTHER
ACTION be taken with respect to the proposed translation. The Council agreed
to follow that recommendation.
28. Professor Felix Browder, Chairman of the ad hoc COMMITTEE ON
RESEARCH ANNOUNCEMENTS, presented the attached report. Following a discussion
of principles, the Committee made a Detailed Proposal on pp. 3-4. Professor
I.M. Singer, a member of the Committee, discussed the report as well.
Professor Church, a member of both this committee and a predecessor,
had addressed a letter of comment to President Bing. It is attached.
Professor Barry Simon, a member of the Council, had asked that the attached
letter concerning several problems of the BULLETIN, particularly Research
Announcements, be distributed. Professor Saunders Mac Lane addressed the
attached letter on the subject to the President.
The Executive Committee had reviewed the proposal of the Committee
on Research Announcements and strongly endorsed it.
Professor Browder moved that the Council adopt the proposal in the
report in principle with such practical emendations as may prove useful for
the development of this editorial committee following the general lines of
the Detailed Proposal. The motion was seconded and was amended by consent to
include a trial period of three years. The motion then passed. It was agreed
that an edited version of the proposal, prepared by the Committee, should be
published in the NOTICES and in the BULLETIN.
29. The Council of August l5, 1977 instructed the Secretary to
circulate to the members of the Council a questionnaire on the EDITORIAL
POLICY OF THE TRANSACTIONS AND MEMOIRS. The questionnaire took the form of
three statements on which the Council members were requested to comment. The
results were to be circulated for a second round of comment and the product was
to be reported both to the Editors of the TRANSACTIONS and Memoirs and the
Council. All of these steps have been accomplished, including the last, which
is carried out by attachment to these minutes of the report of the first phase
together with a letter from Dr. Robert Bartle, which was the sole response to
the second phase.
The meeting adjourned at 9:45 PM.
Everett Pitcher, January 3, 1978