April 1983 Council Minutes
APRIL 1983 COUNCIL MINUTES
The Council met in the Gold Ballroom of the New York Statler Hotel on 14 April
1983, at 5:00 PM. Members present were Steve Armentrout, Michael Artin, Felix
Browder, W.Wistar Comfort, Peter Fillmore, Andrew Gleason, Melvin Hochster,
Alan Hoffman, Meyer Jerison, Linda Keen, Robert Langlands, John Milnor, Walter
Neumann, Morris Newman, Everett Pitcher, Julia Robinson, Michael Shub, Elias
Stein, Hector Sussmann, and Raymond Wells, Jr. Also present were Lincoln
Durst, R. Hahn, E. Heiser, W.J. LeVeque, J. Mesirov, and John Selfridge.
President Robinson was in the Chair.
1.1 MINUTES OF 4 JANUARY 1983: THESE minutes were circulated by mail. The
following addition to minute 4.8 Individual Discounts was offered.
President Comfort noted that there were institutions
at which individually financed subscriptions are the only
vehicle readily available for access to journals. By common
consent, the faculty in Mathematics purchase one or two
journals each, donating these to the department or to the
central library and losing access to them upon retirement
or termination of contract. His sentiment was noted, to
be conveyed to the Trustees, that the Trustees should
consider the announced goal of the Society, namely, "the
furtherance of the interests of mathematical scholarship
and research", when they draft a policy to tighten up on
the abuse of discounted subscriptions.
A letter from Professor Comfort is attached. With these additions the minutes
1.2 ELECTION TO THE EXECUTIVE COMMITEE: The attached minute, recording the
election of Melvin Hochster and Elias M. Stein to the EC, was approved.
3.1 NOMINATING COMMITTEE; THE names of the first six candidates for the
Nominating Committee chosen by President Robinson were announced. They are:
Albert T. Bharucha-Reid
Alistair H. Lachlan
Robert P. Langlands
Harold M. Stark
3.2 TREASURER'S REPORT; It was noted that the Treasurer's Report would be
distributed with these minutes. It is attached.
3.3 PRESIDENT'S REPORT (NOT ON THE AGENDA). President Robinson reported on the
state of her efforts to obtain decriminalization for Chandler Davis with
respect to his conviction for contempt of Congress.
COMMITTEES AND BOARDS
4.1 PUBLICATION PROGRAM: IN its cyclical review of Society activies, the EC
of 1982 reviewed the publication program and offered the attached report.
Professor Felix Browder objected strongly to the comments in paragraph four on
both substantive and procedural grounds. He expressed the opinion that undue
weight had been given to a small number of letters objecting to the level of
the research expository articles. He subsequently prepared a statement of his
position, which is attached. Professor Andrew Gleason responded for the EC.
In reply to a question, the Secretary gave a brief account of the history and
source of the report. A motion by Professor John Milnor receiving the report
without making any judgments about the issues in dispute and thanking the
Committee was passed.
4.2 AMS RESEARCH FELLOWSHIPS: The Postdoctoral Fellowship Committee at the
behest of the EC and BT recommended that the fellowship program be changed
from one for recent Ph.D.'s to one for persons in early mid-career. There
is an attached draft of a possible announcement, as offered to the Council
to clarify details.
The Council approved the proposed change, with the understanding that early
mid-career shall mean from four to ten years past the Ph.D. degree rather
than four to eight.
4.3 PETITION TABLE: Professor Murray Gerstenhaber proposed a resolution to the
Committee on Human Rights, which forwarded it to the EC, whose response was to
put it on the Council agenda of 4 January 1983. An account of the resolution
and its disposition is to be found in minute 8.1 of the minutes of 4 January
1983, which is attached. The Council referred the motion back to the Committee
on Human Rights for clarification of procedures and of the degree of
supervision to be exercised. The response of the Committee is attached. The
motion of Professor Gerstenhaber was again offered to the Council for
It was noted that a petition table had been operated at two recent meetings. A
motion was passed to continue to operate in the same manner for another year.
[The Secretary interprets this motion to include the following points. First,
the table will be installed by or under the direction of the Meetings
Department. No one will ask for permission to set it up, but if a host
institution objects it will be dismantled. The Associate Secretary will not be
concerned with setting it up or supervising it. A sign reading "Petition
Table" will be on it. No one will make any judgment whether it is concerned
with the human rights of an individual mathematician. Anything that is not a
petition (e.g. book ads, resumes) will be removed by the staff. When
registration closes, any paper on the table will be discarded.] It was
understood that should difficulties develop or after a year of operation, the
matter would be brought before the Council again.
8.1 ABSTRACT BY G. ARTHUR MIHRAM. THE attached abstract was offered for the
meeting of 30-31 October 1982. It was rejected for a special session and as a
ten minute contributed paper. It was then submitted directly to the Secretary
with a request for reversal of the previous judgments and for inclusion of the
paper on the program of the current meeting. Should the Secretary choose not
to do so, (he did not) then the author requested that the matter be referred to
the Council. The abstract with the file of supporting documents was referred
to the Agenda and Budget Committee, which recommended rejection. The Council
rejected the abstract.
INFORMATION AND RECORD
2.1 NSF REVIEWERS REPORTS: Professor Serge Lang requested that the Council
consider the following resolution:
The Council of the AMS finds inappropriate the current policy
of the NSF, to send reviewers' reports concerning grant
applications automatically to the principal investigators. The
Council recommends that the policy revert to the one previously
in force, as stated in IMPORTANT NOTICE NO. 59, following a
National Science Board Resolution, namely: verbatim copies of
reviews, not including the identity of the reviewer, will be
made available to the principal investigator/project director
Correspondence from him to Alvin Thaler, Program Director for the NSF, to Paul
J. Sally, Jr., and to the Secretary are attached along with the NSF notice.
The EC requested that the issue be referred to the Science Policy Committee.
The Committee had not reported and this item was presented for information
2.2 A-21: Professor Serge Lang requested that the attached material be
distributed to the Council for information. It is related to item 7.3 of the
minutes of 4 January 1983. He also observed that he made an error of fact in
that he stated or implied incorrectly, as in the second paragraph of the letter
from him to Sally dated 3 February 1983, that certin persons had refused to
serve as reviewers of proposals for the NSF.
Everett Pitcher, Secretary
April 14, 1983