By Carter Ottele

MAC FIELD—The fast food chain McDonald’s Corporation has filed a lawsuit arguing that it holds full legal rights to Grinnell College’s MacEachron Field (commonly known as Mac Field), setting up the possibility of a contentious trial by ritual combat.

“According to Section 5 of the 25th Amendment, McDonald’s Corporation has a legal right to all goods, properties, and services that contain the word ‘Mac,'” claims the lawsuit. “This includes Mac Field. McDonald’s holds the right to extract profits from the field in any way it wishes, regardless of Grinnell College’s potential objections.”

The lawsuit cited two previous cases as precedent. In Mauna Loa v. McDonald’s (2013), the fast food chain successfully achieved a monopoly on all macadamia nuts sold in the Western Hemisphere. And in Haggerty v. McDonald’s (2019), the company gained the copyright to the entirety of the American hip-hop artist Macklemore’s discography.

In response, the College released a statement from its lawyer, Michelle Ronald, that challenged the lawsuit on both legal and moral grounds:

“First, Mac Field was named after Paul MacEachron, Class of 1911, following his tragic death in 1931. MacEachreon was a beloved member of the Grinnell community. By dedicating the field in his name, Grinnell chose to honor everything that MacEachron represented: community, determination, intelligence, Oedipal complexes, and more. He died nine years before the McDonald’s Corporation even existed.

“Second, the proposed plan to seize property because of a prefix is preposterous. If taken to its logical conclusion, this radical interpretation of the 25th Amendment could have devastating consequences. I mean, my first name is Michelle—what if my parents had named me Machelle?”

After reading this last point, McDonald’s immediately filed a petition to remove the College’s lawyer from the case, owing to her obvious conflict of interest.

The rest of the College has expressed a more mixed reaction to the lawsuit. On the one hand, some students have expressed discomfort with the possibility of a for-profit corporation owning the field. For instance, Freddy Angles ’27 describes himself as a “neo-rectilinear anarcho-proletarianist.” According to Angles, if McDonald’s were to build a restaurant on Mac Field, it would be “essentially the worst evil that human beings could possibly imagine.”

Other students, however, have been more accepting. “I’d love it,” said Gus Tomer ’24. “Imagine having a Big Mac and fries within a minute of your dorm. And I could get so many Happy Meals…it would really counteract all the Sad Meals in D-Hall.”

The Science, Medicine, and Society concentration has also been supportive of the move. “We’ve been waiting for a way to introduce a research requirement into our curriculum,” said Margot Spurlock ’24, a member of the SEPC. “And now, we have it: concentrators could replicate Super Size Me. They’d eat nothing but McDonald’s for a semester and then present their results.”
The outcome remains uncertain. Even if Grinnell College loses the case, it could appeal the decision—possibly leaving in question the constitutionality of the 25th Amendment itself. Until then, the vision of the Golden Arches blending seamlessly into the North Campus loggia is only a dream (or nightmare).