Loading... Please wait...

Image 1

Seoul Food in Urbana

 David Eun and Bruce Patton   (Published: 2013)
Product number:
24 pages
Product Type:
Role Play Package
Link to Faculty Author Page:

Please note that each purchase of this product entitles the purchaser to one download and use.  If you need multiple copies, please purchase the number of copies you need.  For more information, see Copying Your Case Study.


Three-person mediation involving representatives of local Korean and African-American communities over racial tensions arising from an alleged shoplifting incident; a city representative serves as the mediator.

Tensions between the African-American and Korean communities in economically depressed Urbana, where Koreans are the sole providers of groceries in the area, have been building for some time. Many African-American customers have long complained that the grocery store owners are unfriendly and unfairly accuse customers of stealing, while Korean store owners contend that many of their African-American customers use racial slurs and shoplift.

A recent incident involving an elderly African-American woman and a Korean grocery store owner has caused tensions to explode into a massive boycott, led initially by the woman’s family, but gaining support throughout the community. The recently elected African-American mayor was initially neutral on the issue, but as the boycott grew, the mayor decided to intervene. Korean grocers do not wish to be driven out of business, and while African-Americans would prefer to support the establishment of African-American owned grocery stores, they have no convenient, immediate alternative to the existing Korean-American grocery stores.

Legal representatives of the local African-American and Korean-American communities are now meeting with the mayor’s Chief Aide for Urban Affairs in an effort to try to resolve the conflict. During the discussions, a newsflash will inform the parties that the boycott situation has worsened and that an urgent solution is necessary.

The product includes: 

  • Teaching Notes
  • General Instructions
  • Newsflash: Crisis in Urbana
  • Confidential Instructions for the African-American Communities For Action Representative
  • Confidential Instructions for the Mayor’s Chief Aide for Urban Affairs
  • Confidential Instructions for the Korean-American Merchants Association of Urbana

Learning Objectives

To provide experience of a multi-party mediation involving a sensitive issue for which the resolution has to be reached under time pressure. 

Subjects Covered

Mediation, Arbitration, Ethnic Dispute Resolution


Geographic: United States

Hard Copy

For hard copies, please contact the HLS Case Studies Program at hlscasestudies@law.harvard.edu or +1-617-500-1038.


To obtain accessible versions of our products for use by those with disabilities, please contact the HLS Case Studies Program at hlscasestudies@law.harvard.edu or +1-617-500-1038.

Educator Materials 

Watermarked review copies of this product are available free of charge to educators and trainers. Please create an account or sign in to gain access to these materials.

Additional Information

Conversation Starters: Case Studies for Curricular Reform

Negotiation Role Plays Available on the Case Studies Portal

Describe your organization


Registered User?

Sign in now

Not a User?

Create an account

Instructors can apply for Educator Access. Benefits include:
Benefits Include:

  • Educator Copies
  • Teaching Notes
  • Student Pricing

Contact us for more information.

Related case studies and educator materials