United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION
FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE:
PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION 
D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
31, 2016, Plaintiffs Craig Ross and Dr. Natalie Operstein
applied ex parte for a temporary restraining order and an
order to show cause re: preliminary injunction against
Defendant Board of Trustees of California State University
(“CSU”), which seeks to enjoin Defendant from
terminating Dr. Operstein’s employment. For the reasons
discussed below, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs’
application. (ECF No. 1.)
state that this application for a temporary restraining order
and preliminary injunction is made to prevent the termination
of Dr. Natalie Operstein's employment pending completion
of an ongoing Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”) investigation into the circumstances
surrounding her dispute with her employer. However, this
application is more accurately a request that the Court order
CSU to: (1) reverse its June 1, 2015 decision to deny Dr.
Operstein’s application for early tenure and promotion,
(2) rescind its May 27, 2016 decision to end her Assistant
Professor appointee employment with the university, and (3)
reinstate her employment as a tenure-track professor.
Operstein became a probationary faculty member at California
State University at Fullerton in 2011. Probationary faculty
are typically considered for tenure during their sixth
probationary year, but are reviewed at regular intervals
throughout the probationary period and must be reappointed in
order to continue the probationary cycle. (Graboyes Decl.
¶ 5, ECF No. 12.) Probationary faculty may also request
early tenure prior to their sixth probationary year.
(Id. ¶ 6.)
tenure review process is required by California Education
Code section 89500. (Id. ¶ 4.) In addition,
University Policy Statement (“UPS”) 210.000
defines the policies and procedures that govern retention,
promotion, and tenure of faculty members (“RTP”).
(Id.) UPS 210.000 provides that faculty members
shall demonstrate continued excellence in teaching, regular
publication of scholarly articles and notes, publication in
peer-reviewed journals, and service. (Id. ¶ 9.)
order to be reappointed and continue in the probationary
cycle, as well as to request tenure or early tenure,
probationary faculty must submit a Portfolio and Appendices,
which are then reviewed at various levels within the
University. (Id. ¶ 7.) The levels of review are
conducted by the Department Personnel Committee, the
Department Chair, the Dean, in certain circumstances the
Faculty Personnel Committee, and finally the Provost. The
Provost makes the final decision; all other levels are
recommendations to the Provost. (Id.)
faculty member under review is given a copy of the
recommendation and written reasons for it. (Id.
¶ 8.) The faculty member may then submit a rebuttal
statement or response. A copy of the rebuttal statement or
response accompanies the RTP File for all future levels of
September 2, 2014, Dr. Operstein applied for early tenure and
promotion. (Id. ¶ 11.) Dr. Operstein’s
review took place between September 2, 2014 and June 1, 2015.
(Id. ¶ 12.) Based on a review of her RTP file,
it was found that Dr. Operstein did not met the standards of
UPS 210.000 and the standards of the Department of Personnel
based on her lack of continued growth, failure to address
concerns raised in past review cycles, and insufficient
documentation of her accomplishments. (Id.
¶¶ 13, 15.) In addition, it was found that Dr.
Operstein had not demonstrated the collegiality expected of a
successful faculty member as described in UPS 24
210.000.II.3.a. (Id. ¶ 14.)
1, 2015, CSU sent Dr. Operstein a letter notifying her that
she would not receive early tenure and would not be
reappointed to a further probationary year. (Id.
¶ 15.) Instead, the letter stated that her employment as
an academic appointee would be terminated effective May 27,
2016, which was the close of the next academic year.
(Id. ¶ 17.) Dr. Operstein confirmed receipt of
the letter on June 13, 2015. (Id.)
2012, Dr. Operstein claims that CSU instituted a new policy
of changing the ethnicity of campus faculty to mirror that of
the student body (dominated mostly by Hispanic students), and
that she has been systematically and continually harassed and
discriminated against by CSU’s officials, supervisors,
and employees. (Memorandum of Points and Authorities
(“Mem. P. & A.”) 4, ECF No. 2.) However, Dr.
Operstein provides little to no evidence for either of these
claims that her purported lack of progress was simply a
pretext for CSU denying her promotion and tenure and
ultimately terminating her. (Id.) Indeed, she claims
that during the whole period of the tenure-track contract,
she demonstrated strong and impeccable performance in each of
the three required areas-scholarship, teaching, and service
to profession, university, and community. (Id. at
March 2013 and May 2014, Dr. Operstein made several internal
discrimination complaints regarding a male coworker, and in
January 2015, February 2015, and May 2015, she claimed that
her negative evaluations were discriminatory and retaliatory.
(Id. at 13.) In March 2015, she filed discrimination
complaint with the EEOC, and in May 2015, she filed a
retaliation complaint with the EEOC. (Id. 14.) On
May 16, 2016, she requested that the EEOC seek a preliminary
injunction preventing CSU from terminating her employment.
(Ross Decl. ¶ 6, ECF No. 3.) Dr. Operstein is yet to
receive a ...