Thang Diep, a senior Harvard senior native of Vietnam, spoke about how convincing it was when a Harvard professor was the first teacher to properly pronounce his name.
Sally Chen, also an elderly woman, testified that a counselor at her San Francisco High School advised students not to write about their Asian-American identity because she was too familiar. The counselor had advised her not even to apply. She did it anyway and wrote about how the advocate and translator had shaped her view of social responsibility for her Chinese parents, who came from the world of work. She got in.
There were no statements from rejected students. The names of Asian Americans represented by Students for Fair Admissions were removed from the report as they were worried about being molested and abused for their views, according to group leader Edward Blum.
Mr. Blum was in the same place in the middle of the second row every day of the trial. He spoke to almost no one until the last day when he shook hands with William Fitzsimmons, Dean of Harvard, who testified at the trial.
In the end, the plaintiffs hope that the case will be based on the figures, statistical details that could help substantiate the often foggy nature of racial bias.
Harvard hopes for a more transcendent judgment. Ruth Simmons, a former president of Brown and a daughter of erotica who studied Proust in France, argued in the last days of the trial what that judgment might mean.
"I would say that we have to suffer in society by perpetuating schisms, schisms that are based on differences, political differences, cultural differences and religious differences," Dr. Simmons. "When we return to our enclaves, enclaves of equality, how do we get to the point where we can mediate these conflicts and have a peaceful, advancing society?"