Steamboat Springs As the fall semester winds down at Colorado Mountain College, some students at the school say they are concerned that the school's image within the community has taken a negative turn because of a few incidents that have occurred in the past months.
They said they believe the school is a positive player in the community.
"Just because one student stole an ambulance makes it seem to the community there are 1,000 more students here just like that," said Tara Miller, a sophomore at the school and a resident assistant at Hill Residence Hall.
The incident Miller is speaking of occurred in the early morning hours of Aug. 28 when
Jared Wayne Maynard, 20, and Ryan David Tomkinson, 18, stole an ambulance that had responded to the CMC campus.
Maynard drove the ambulance and assaulted a paramedic, who was assisting another student in back of the ambulance.
Maynard was sentenced to 18 months in the Routt County Jail. Four days into his sentence, Maynard, who is from Houston, hanged himself Oct. 29. He died two days later at a Denver hospital.
Tomkinson, who sat in the passenger seat, received 30 days in the Routt County Jail.
Both men were intoxicated at the time and were expelled from school.
Another incident that brought negative attention to the school occurred in the early morning hours of Oct. 24. Todd Cronin McAtavey, 18, allegedly smeared blood from a cut on his hand inside the Hill Residence Hall, 1400 Bob Adams Drive.
McAtavey, who is from New Hampshire, has been charged with second-degree criminal tampering, criminal mischief, harassing and defacing property.
McAtavey allegedly used blood from the cut to write threats on walls and a door of another CMC student's dorm room. McAtavey has been disciplined by the school for his alleged actions.
Additional negativity was shed on the school when Lucas Ryan Johnson, 21, stabbed two men at a Halloween party.
Johnson faces a charge of second-degree assault, a class four felony, for the fight that occurred at about 11 p.m. Oct. 31 in the 300 block of River Road.
Johnson, who attends the college, allegedly used an unknown object some witnesses described to police as a 6- to 7-inch knife as he was fighting with another man.
Johnson allegedly stabbed the man and another man who tried to break up the fight. The two men were not seriously injured.
"I worked really hard to come here," said Patrick Kohnke, a freshman. "There have been a handful of people that have ruined it all for us. It is sad that you work so hard to come to a school like this and then it is ruined."
Kohnke said he believes he has been treated differently by perspective employers when he indicates he is a CMC student.
"When I walk downtown to get a job, there is a negative portrayal against me just because of where I go to school," he said.
Sophomore Daniel Kucher, who is also a resident assistant, said he is hopeful the community does not look down upon the school because of a few incidents.
"The two years I have spent here have been the best experience of my life," he said. "It has been a fantastic experience. There is so many positive things going on around here."
Kucher and other students this semester helped out with the new children's museum, conducted a food drive for the Up-Lift Program and the Residence Hall Association sponsored a dance in November.
The dance that was held at a local establishment promoted a life without drugs and alcohol to students.
Proceeds from the event are going to a memorial fund the students have not yet decided upon, said Sandra Fortier, assistant coordinator of residence life.
All of the student clubs on campus also do hours of community service, she said.
As a resident assistant, Kucher said he has to enforce the school's policies regarding drugs and alcohol.
"We have policies here that do not allow drugs or alcohol on campus," he said. "We don't let people do what they want here. It is not a free-for-all here.
"There is a lack of understanding of what goes on here. We aren't this spooky place on the hill. There are some good things going on here."
"We all know that negative things happen," she said. "But when someone does something bad, we all take offense to it."