Statement from the Task Force: March 2021
The Task Force on Understanding and Documenting the Historical Role of the AMS in Racial Discrimination has completed its work and has submitted its final report to AMS governance. We will continue to communicate about actions that emerge from the recommendations in this report. Meanwhile, you may read the report here. Task Force members thank the mathematicians who graciously shared their time through interviews, gave us feedback through this webpage, or directly reached out to us.
–Kasso Okoudjou and Francis Su, co-chairs
We'd like to hear from you!
The AMS wants to hear your thoughts and ideas related to this report and our steps moving forward. Thank you! Comments are sent to AMS leadership
Task Force Background
As part of the AMS participating in #ShutDownSTEM in June 2020, the governance established a task force of dedicated and diverse mathematicians to identify, engage and address issues past and present related to equality, racial justice and inclusivity.
Over the next few months, the task force listened to and sought input from the mathematics community, particularly Black mathematicians. Meanwhile, the AMS created a new fund to support its programs to address issues of equity and inclusion in the mathematics community. In addition, governance applied a portion of the endowment to establish a new fellowship to support the scholarship of Black mathematicians.
In March 2021, the task force submitted a final draft of its report to AMS governance. That report details the historical role of the AMS in racial discrimination; and recommends actions for the AMS to take to rectify systemic inequities in the mathematics community.
- Dr. Leona Harris hired as AMS Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
- A reimagined Joint Mathematics Meetings launches with multiple societies working in partnership.
- MathSafe, a program to support the AMS Policy on a Welcoming Environment at meetings and conferences, is piloted at the Joint Mathematics Meetings.
- Dr. Ryan Hynd is awarded the AMS Claytor-Gilmer Fellowship for the 2022-2023 academic year.
- As a temporary measure, AMS President Ruth Charney assigns a Vice President to serve on the Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
- The AMS now observes Juneteenth as an official staff holiday.
- AMS ballot prompts are modified to allow for inclusion of a broader range of professional activities, effective with the 2022 election.
- Through wider outreach by the Committee on Committees and Nominating Committee, the AMS renews efforts to seek a diverse pool of candidates for committee appointments and roles in governance. The AMS Council approves adding a statement to the charges of these committees and the Editorial Boards Committee to remind them to keep diversity of all kinds in mind when selecting candidates.
- The AMS Programs that Make a Difference Award, which recognizes work that brings more people from underrepresented backgrounds into the profession, is elevated from being a policy committee award to being an award of the Society.
- The Notices of the AMS publishes the article, Dr. Raymond L. Johnson: A Mathematical Journey and Some Reflections on African Americans in Graduate Mathematical Sciences Programs in the US.(PDF)
- Beginning in April 2022 and going forward, the AMS Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion provides annual updates on Task Force recommendations to Council.
- Dr. Mohamed Omar is awarded the inaugural AMS Claytor-Gilmer Fellowship.
- Together with the MAA, the AMS published Testimonios, Stories of Latinx and Hispanic Mathematicians. The eBook is available free of charge to AMS and MAA members. To facilitate student access, one chapter per month will appear on the AMS website over the next two years.
- Applications accepted for inaugural Claytor-Gilmer Fellowship
- AMS Council and Board of Trustees authorize hiring a Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Call for applications posted.
- New Associate Director of Government Relations hired, focusing on undergraduate and graduate education in the mathematical sciences, with equity and inclusiveness considered paramount for success.
Discussion and Planning
- AMS Council and Board of Trustees discuss report and work on action plan
- Task Force members present report across various channels
- AMS staff read and discuss report
Task Force delivers report to AMS Council and to public
- AMS Council formally establishes new fellowship in support of Black mathematicians
- Council approves the adoption of doubly-anonymous review for its journals.
- AMS Land Acknowledgement statement present at the Joint Mathematics Meetings.
Task Force composes final report
The AMS offers webinar platform and promotional channels to mathematicians of color to amplify their voices and discussions of race and racism in mathematics.
- Documenting the History of Black Mathematicians
- Advocating for Students of Color in Your Classroom, Department, Institution, and the Profession: There's More You Can Do
- Moving Mathematics Forward: Twenty Years Since the Historic Graduation of Drs. Inniss, Scott, and Weems (co-sponsored with the National Association of Mathematicians)
The AMS hires a new Talent Acquisition & Development Specialist with training and experience in reducing implicit bias in the workplace.
The seven-member Task Force:
- Meets weekly to review AMS actions to understand ways the AMS has contributed to racial discrimination or an unwelcome environment;
- interviews mathematicians, math historians, and AMS governance; and
- gathers data and studies articles, reports, and other resources that inform about the history of racism in mathematics in general and in the AMS in particular.
- AMS establishes Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (CoEDI)
- Council approves the creation of a Prize Oversight Committee, charging it to "develop and implement an approach to recruit larger, more diverse pools of nominees. Further, to develop data-driven processes to measure success of these efforts."
- Free AMS book program expands to include Tribal colleges and Hispanic-serving institutions with undergraduate math programs.
- With the MAA, AMS publishes Living Proof: Stories of Resilience Along the Mathematical Journey and sends free copy to every undergraduate mathematics department in the United States, as well as making it available free as an eBook.
Task Force Members
- Tasha R. Inniss
Associate Provost for Research and Associate Professor of Mathematics, Spelman College
- W. J. "Jim" Lewis
Aaron Douglas Professor of Mathematics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
- Irina Mitrea
L.H. Carnell Professor of Mathematics and Department Chair, Temple University
- Kasso A. Okoudjou (co-chair)
Professor of Mathematics, Tufts University
- Adriana Salerno
Professor of Mathematics and Department Chair, Bates College
- Francis Su (co-chair)
Benediktsson-Karwa Professor of Mathematics, Harvey Mudd College
- Dylan Thurston
Professor of Mathematics, Indiana University Bloomington