On the fourth day of the trial covering Harvard's alleged discrimination against Asians-Americans, William Fitzsimmons, the school's dean of admissions, finished his testimony after being on the stand since Monday.
A group called Students for Fair Admissions is suing Harvard, saying the university holds Asian-Americans to higher standards and unfairly ranks them lower on intangibles like personality and leadership skills.
During his testimony, Harvard lawyers brought up the case of Thang Diep, a Harvard senior who the university is planning to call as a witness later in the trial.
Diep, who was born in Vietnam and came to the United States at a young age, wrote in his Harvard application about how he he was bullied for his accent. He had a fear of public speaking because of these experiences.
"How could your heart not go out for this person?" Fitzsimmons said.
Diep also graduated first in his high school class and had a high GPA in high school, along with high standardized test scores.
Fitzsimmons said it was not just Diep's experiences growing up, but a combination of factors that led to his admission to Harvard.
Harvard's lawyers also asked Fitzsimmons if the claim that the university discriminates against Asian-American applicants is true. Fitzsimmons said no, pointing to what he called a series of checks and balances, along with training of the admissions staff, that he said prevents that sort of bias.
"We certainly do everything in our power to treat every applicant fairly," he said.
Lawyers for Students for Fair Admissions then pointed to two cases where Fitzsimmons himself referred to Asian-American applicants a "quiet," a word that SFFA claimed had been used to stereotype Asian-American students.
Harvard's lawyers followed up, asking Fitzsimmons if he had also characterized students of other races as quiet, which he said he had.
He also testified he had characterized Asian-American applicants as outgoing as well.
During the trial, Judge Allison Burroughs asked if there would be any evidence presented from the plaintiffs who were actually involved in the lawsuit. Harvard's lawyer Bill Lee said that would not happen. Lawyers for SFFA did not object.
After the court adjourned for the day, Lee said that he has never been involved in a case where a plaintiff hasn't testified.
"You're not going to see a plaintiff, you're not going to see a plaintiff's application, you're not going to see a plaintiff's resume, you're not going to hear a word from them. Zero," he said. "I think probably in 42 years this is the first time I've ever tried a case where the plaintiff doesn't get on the stand to tell you what their grievance is."
Testimony wrapped Thursday with other officers from the admissions office, including Erica Bever. Her testimony will continue tomorrow morning. The trial is expected to last another two weeks.