Senator loses post over expletive to black caucus

Friday, August 17, 2012, Vol. 36, No. 33

NASHVILLE (AP) - A state senator who headed a panel investigating allegations of grade fixing at Tennessee State University has lost his chairmanship for using an expletive to dismiss concerns from the caucus of black lawmakers.

Republican Sen. Jim Summerville of Dickson used crude language for a rat's behind to tell caucus chairwoman Rep. Barbara Cooper of Memphis that he doesn't care what the black caucus thinks.

Senate Education Chairwoman Dolores Gresham announced in a statement Thursday that she's removing Summerville as higher education subcommittee chairman.

Summerville, who is white, didn't immediately respond Thursday to requests for comment.

The black caucus had sent Summerville an official response that called the complaints "much ado about nothing" and questioned why the historically black university was singled out for a legislative investigation.