January 1979 Council Minutes
MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING DATED JANUARY 23, 1979
The Council met on January 23, 1979 at 2:10 PM in the Vogue Room of the
Broadwater Beach Hotel in Biloxi. The members present were D.W. Anderson, R.G.
Ayoub, E.R. Berlekamp, R.H. Bing, J.S. Birman, F. T. Birtel, J.H. Bramble, F.
Browder, W. Browder, C. Davis, J.A. Donaldson, R.G. Douglas, T.W. Gamelin, W.
Gautschi, M. Gerstenhaber, R.P. Gilbert, R. Goldberg, R.L. Graham, R.J. Griego,
P.R. Halmos, K.H. Hofmann, J.H.B. Kemperman, P.D. Lax, W.A.J. Luxemburg, H.P.
McKean, Jr., R.J. Milgram, G.D. Mostow, C.M. Pearcy, F.P. Peterson, R.R.
Phelps, E. Pitcher, J.B. Robinson, L.P. Rothschild, J.C. Scanlon, S. Shatz,
J.D. Stasheff, E.M. Stein, K. Uhlenbeck, D.H. Wagner, R.O. Wells, Jr., G.W.
Whitehead, J.A. Wolf, and L.A. Zalcman. Also present were L. Durst, R. Hahn, S.
Juergensen, W.J. Leveque, H. MacDonald, and J. Selfridge. The privilege of the
floor at various times was granted to Richard D. Anderson, Mary W. Gray, Arnold
Lebow, and Saunders Mac Lane. President Lax was in the chair.
1. The minutes of the Council meeting of 23 March 1978, previously
distributed by mail to the Council of 1978, were approved.
2. The minutes of Council Business by Mail dated 2l July 1978 and l5
September 1978 were approved. They were attached.
3. The Council had authorized the Secretary to set the time and place
of the Council meeting of April 1979. It had been set in New York on Wednesday,
April 18, at 5:00 PM but this time was changed to Thursday, April 19, at 7:00
PM. [It developed subsequent to the meeting that there were two things wrong
with this decision. First, Passover was not yet over at 7:00 PM E.S.T. By the
time one allows for travel time, the meeting could hardly start before 8:30 PM.
Second, there was no suitable room either at the Biltmore or at neighboring
hotels. The Secretary accordingly exercised his prerogative and set the
meeting for Friday, April 20, at 1:00 PM, with the expectation that it would be
over before dinner.]
4. Through an oversight, the EC had not set the time and place of the
next three Council meetings. The next two were set as follows:
Duluth August 22, 1979 (Wednesday) 5:00 PM
San Antonio January 2, 1980 (Wednesday) 2:00 PM
It was noted that the Duluth meeting is held on Tuesday through Saturday, not
Monday through Friday. The Council meeting will be in its usual position on
the evening of the second day.
The Council meeting in San Antonio was set as usual for the afternoon
and evening of the day prior to the opening of scientific sessions. It was
noted that this is the last meeting scheduled so inconveniently close to New
Year's Day. Following the early meeting of 1978 in Atlanta, it was recognized
that a meeting so close to New Year's Day makes travel difficult. However, the
San Antonio meeting was already firm. There is now a policy that after 1980
the Annual Meeting will not begin earlier than January 5.
5. The Secretary was authorized to set the time and place of the
Council meeting of April 1980.
6. The minutes of the EC/BT of 13-14 May and 8-10 December 1978 were
received and are attached.
7. The Secretary called attention to item 6.9 of the former set of
minutes and item 6.l0 of the latter, each concerned with archives. He read the
attached letter from Professor Henry Alder, chairman of the Joint Fact Finding
Committee on Archives in which he objects to the decision of the Trustees to
place the archives of the Society at Brown University as being contrary to the
recommendation of the Committee, asks that the Council consider the issue at
its August meeting, stating that the Committee would produce a statement of
position for that meeting.
8. Past President R.H. Bing entered an objection to the composition
and action of the committee of the Trustees on which the Trustees based their
decision and also asked for Council consideration of the issues.
9. Professor Joseph A. Wolf, Chairman of the Editorial Committee of
the PROCEEDINGS introduced the following resolution:
Blind refereeing is abolished as a policy for the Proceedings of
the American Mathematical Society.
In support he offered the attached letter stating the position of a number of
the editors of the PROCEEDINGS. Letters from Ronson J. Warne are attached as
well. The Secretary prefaced the debate with historical remarks in a statement
which is attached. After the debate, the motion was passed.
Professor Joan Birman then introduced a motion previously formulated by
Professor Wolf, namely:
Any author who so requests and who provides a blind copy of a
manuscript (s)he submits to the PROCEEDINGS, will have his/her
manuscript refereed blind.
After debate, this motion was put to a roll call vote, which yielded 16-3/4
votes in favor and 10-1/4 opposed, so that the motion was passed.
10. The attached report on the firing of two tenured professors at
Yeshiva University was presented by Professor Gerstenhaber. With the news that
Yeshiva University had dismissed some tenured members of its mathematics
department, President Bing had appointed Professors Sternberg, Hoffman, Mostow
and Gerstenhaber to investigate the situation and to prepare a report. The
first three named had served a year earlier as mediators in the proposed
closing of the graduate program in mathematics. The report and some of the
supporting material are attached. The full set of documents was viewed by the
Committee on Academic Freedom, Tenure and Employment Security. The EC/BT
viewed the full set of documents, but at the request of CAFTES, took no action
pending the deliberations of that committee. Professor Mary Gray was given the
privilege of the floor to report for CAFTES.
Professor Gerstenhaber moved that a brief factual account of the
dismissal be published in the NOTICES. The motion was passed. It was agreed
that Professor Gray, Gerstenhaber, and Sternberg would prepare the report and
have full responsibility for it, without review by the Editorial Committee of
Then Professor Gerstenhaber moved that the American Mathematical
Society act as institutional affiliation for any member of the mathematics
faculty at Yeshiva in applying for a research grant from the NSF provided the
individual so requested and the NSF was legally able and willing to accept such
an application. It was pointed out that this move could serve as a protection
to faculty members in receiving the full privileges of a grant, such as funds
dedicated to a leave of absence, and improve the bargaining position of faculty
members in such matters as maintenance of a current research library. The
11. Associate Secretary Raymond Ayoub proposed that abstracts in the
NOTICES be preceded by a statement which reads:
The Editorial Board and others involved with the publication
of abstracts take no responsibility for the mathematical
accuracy or content of the abstracts.
The same wording was proposed for the abstract form. It was intended to point
up the author's responsibility.
The proposal was occasioned by recent rejections of abstracts by the
Associate Secretaries on the grounds that the outlined proof of the theorem in
the abstract appeared to referees to be incorrect. On the other hand, the
refereeing of an abstract without the paper is difficult to carry out. Some
rejections have been followed by extended correspondence or by appeals. One
may refer to item 5.3 and attachment 26 in the EC/BT minutes of December 8-10,
1978. It is not clear that abstracts have been treated evenly in that the
error in a well-written incorrect abstract is more likely to be detected than
the error in a badly written one. The disclaimer was not intended to relieve
Associate Secretaries of the duty of rejecting material that is not mathematics
or that is offensive or libelous.
The Secretary reported that the Council of January 1973 had considered
the application of Article X, Section 5 of the bylaws concerning approval of
papers for presentation to the Society and had expressed a mild consensus
toward increasing the strictness of the judging of abstracts.
The motion was defeated.
12. A minute of the Council of April 1977 reads as follows:
"The Joint Committee on Places of Meetings requested the Council to
rule that contributors of ten and twenty-minutes papers not be scheduled to
speak unless they have preregistered with payment of the registration fee at
meetings where preregistration is in effect. The committee has observed that
there are many speakers who avoid payment of the registration fee. It has
further been observed that there is a high rate of non-appearance to present a
scheduled paper. The proposed policy is intended to counteract both of these
tendencies. The proposal of the committee was accepted."
A minute of the meeting of the Joint Committee on Meetings of August
1978 reads as follows:
"The committee agreed to recommend to the Council of the Society that
mandatory preregistration for ten- and twenty-minute presentors of papers be
discontinued. Although this is a Society problem, and not an Association
problem, members of the committee felt the Association should be aware that
this recommendation will be going to the Council, and this committee will be
informed of the Council's action."
Because of difficulties with scheduling and enforcement, the policy has
not been followed and the EC recommended that it be revoked. The Council
passed such a motion.
13. The attached statement from Professor I.M. Singer, Editor of the
BULLETIN with special responsibility for research announcements, was received.
14. Professor Raymond Ayoub proposed a change in the publication program of
the Society. He suggested that the Council:
"recommend that the Editorial Board of the Transactions actively
promote more "special issues." These could be (a) issues honoring
outstanding mathematicians whether or not on a special occasion such
as birthday, etc. (b) obituary issues with analysis of the decreased
contributions. (c) etc.
"These special issues could be sold separately. I make this proposal
because there have recently appeared several books (that I am aware of)
which have this character. I do not see why this could have not been
produced under the aegis of the Society and made more readily available
to the members of the Society."
The EC advised the Council that it does not support the recommendation.
The Secretary noted that neither does it oppose the recommendation though some
of its members do. Reference is made to a letter from Professor Hugo Rossi,
which is attachment #9 to the minutes of the EC/BT of December 8-10, 1978. The
Council referred the matter to the Committee on the Publication Program, which
is considering ways and means of enlarging the program.
15. Issues related to the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute,
for which proposals have been solicited for consideration by the NSF, were
considered. Reference is made to the NOTICES of November 1978, pp. 481-494,
and January 1979. A report from Saunders Mac Lane, letters from Murray
Gerstenhaber and Elias M. Stein, and the text of the solicitation are attached.
Professor George D. Mostow presented a motion, which is attached.
Professor Saunders Mac Lane was offered the privilege of the floor and
presented background information. There was extended debate over amendments,
through which the motion emerged in the following form:
After deliberation of various new modes of National Science Foundation
support that would contribute most to the health and excellence of
American mathematics, the Council of the American Mathematical Society
has reached a broad consensus on the following ordered list of
1. Expansion of the new postdoctoral fellowship program for Ph.D.'s
within five years of their degrees. This program might include postdoctoral
research instructorships at universities which have strong mathematicians on
their faculties. The total number of new awards of these types added to the
existing number of research instructorships at strong mathematics departments
should permit 100 appointments of new Ph.D.'s annually.
2. A postdoctoral program for mathematicians of Ph.D. age exceeding
3. Increased numbers of summer mathematics institutes, special year
programs in topics which are ripe for development, and other forms of
mathematical sciences research institute concepts.
4. Enrichment of grants and increasing the number of grants.
In this form the motion was passed. It was agreed that the President would
transmit the resolution to the National Science Foundation.
Professor Eli Stein then offered the following resolution:
To set up a Special Committee on Modes of Support of Research to
collect, examine, formulate and circulate proposals from the mathematical
community for mechanisms to foster progress in research in mathematics and
to make recommendations for appropriate action from the above to the April
meeting of the Council.
It was passed.
The action on modes of support, described here in a single piece,
actually took place in two intervals of time. It was interrupted at 6:00 PM
for an executive session, which was followed at 6:30 by a recess for dinner,
after which the discussion was resumed.
16. For the past three years, the ballot contained an instruction that
All write-in votes must have a uniquely identifiable address or
This instruction was added on the advice of the Tellers of 1975, who wrote in
part as follows:
The write-in ballots pose a serious problem. If by chance, a write-in
candidate received a plurality; the Tellers could be in a position to be unable
to determine which "Charles Ford" (there are three in the Combined Membership
List) or which "Nixon" (there are three) or which "L. Johnson" (there are
three) is the actual winner. Maybe this source of uncertainty could be
eliminated by requiring the voter to uniquely identify the write-in by giving
his address or professional affiliation...
The Council received notice of this statement by the Tellers. The
ballot was revised in 1976 for other reasons and, with the knowledge of the
Council although not under its order, the instruction was added. The attorney
for the Society advised that the instruction is illegal in the light of the
bylaws, which state (Article VII, Section 2): "Each ballot shall contain one or
more names proposed by the Council for each office to be filled, with blank
spaces in which the voter may substitute other names." Accordingly, the
statement is to be removed from the ballot.
The attorney for the Society had pointed out that the procedure of
nomination by petition is illegal. The bylaws are quite specific in saying
that the names on the ballot are proposed by the Council. The EC agreed to
recommend that the Council be presented with a complete slate and that the
Council nominate all candidates whose names are put forward by petition. With
this recommendation in mind, the Secretary offered the following wording of a
motion, preserving the existing procedure within the legal form:
The Council requests the Nominating Committee to propose twice as many
names for the position of vice-president as there are positions to be filled
and to propose seven names for five positions of member-at-large. The Council
affirms the precedent of then nominating twice as many candidates for vice-
president as there are positions to be filled and of then nominating seven
persons for five places of member-at-large. The Council further states its
present intent of nominating for these two offices all persons whose names are
advanced by petitions bearing at least fifty valid signatures. Should the
number of candidates for member-at-large then be less than ten, the Council
requests the Nominating Committee to have at hand and to propose enough
additional names to bring the number up to ten and the Council states its
intent of nominating at least ten persons for the position of member-at-large.
The motion passed.
17. A tabulation of the current membership of the Council and BT is
18. In the executive session, the Nominating Committee presented the
following slate of three candidates for a term of four years on the Editorial
Committee of the NOTICES:
Richard J. Griego
M. Susan Montgomery.
The Council accepted the slate. The Nominating Committee offered one candidate
to fill out the term vacated by the resignation of George Piranian, namely
Barbara L. Osofsky
She was elected.
19. Attention was called to attachment l of the EC/BT minutes of 8-10
December 1978, where William H. Pell quotes a public statement from the grants
brochure stating that unaffiliated scientists may hold grants, that
unaffiliated scientists do receive grants, and that there is no advantage to
the otherwise unaffiliated scientist in applying for a grant through the
Society. The EC/BT instructed the Executive Director to retain the present
procedure of discouraging submission of proposals through the Society, but left
open the possibility of referring special cases to the EC/BT.
20. A report of the AMS-MAA-SIAM Committee on Women in Mathematics,
prepared for the MAA Board of Governors, was received and is attached for
21. The Council was informed of the proposed International Centre for
Pure and Applied Mathematics. A letter concerning efforts to promote Trieste
as the site is attached.
Everett Pitcher, Secretary
January 23, 1979