Ten weeks into the school year at Colorado Mountain College, two extreme incidents have occurred that have school officials concerned.
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 on the CMC campus, 1400 Bob Adams Drive.
McAtavey, who is from New Hampshire, has been charged with second-degree criminal tampering, criminal mischief, harassing and defacing property.
According to a court file, the student allegedly smeared his blood from a cut on his hand on walls and a door on the third-floor of the residence hall.
Police believe the man allegedly smeared his blood in the dormitory because of a recent break-up with his girlfriend.
McAtavey allegedly used blood from a cut to his right hand to write threats on walls and a door to the dorm room of another CMC student that police believe is dating the suspect's former girlfriend.
This incident followed the stealing of a city ambulance that had responded to the CMC campus in the early morning hours of Aug. 28.
Jared Wayne Maynard, 20, and Ryan David Tomkinson, 18, were expelled from the school for the incident.
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 last Thursday after he pleaded guilty to motor vehicle theft and third-degree assault.
Maynard began serving the sentence but had to be rushed from the jail Sunday night when he tried to hang himself in a jail cell. He is being treated at Denver Health Medical Center.
Tomkinson, who sat in the passenger seat, pleaded guilty to theft and received 30 days in the Routt County Jail. Maynard and Tomkinson were intoxicated at the time of the incident.
It is unknown whether drugs or alcohol played a factor in McAtavey's incident.
McAtavey has been disciplined by the school for his alleged actions, said Brian Hoza, assistant campus dean for student services. The man is still enrolled in the school, but additional discipline is pending, he said.
"Every incident is of concern," said Hoza, who has been with the school for 10 years. "These two instances were extremely rare and unusual circumstances that happened."
Hoza indicated these two incidents have had an impact on the rest of the school.
"These type of incidents have lasting effects," he said. "The school is still feeling the effects of what has happened with Jared Maynard. We are concerned for his well-being and his family.
"I think that there is still amazement from the students' standpoint that both these situations have happened. They see it as extreme behavior. That is good because they understand how unreasonable their actions were."
Hoza believes alcohol and drugs play a role in student behavior.
"We find out about alcohol use because of the students' behavior," he said. "We have a process in place here that steers the students from using alcohol."
Alcohol is not permitted on campus, and students living in the residence hall could be suspended from the residence hall if found with alcohol or drugs, he said.
A student can be caught with alcohol twice before the student is forced to find other housing arrangements, he said. But in extreme cases alcohol can also be a basis to suspend a student from the residence hall, he said.
When it comes to drugs, the college has a zero-policy stance, he said.
Any student who lives in the residence hall caught with drugs is suspended, he said.
Dan Schaffrick, one of two student counselors at the college, believes the two incidents that have occurred on campus is a reflection of what is happening across the country.
"These events are just not happening on our campus," he said. "There have been riots by students in Boulder and Illinois. Our small town is not immune from what is happening at schools across the country. It is unfortunate."
Schaffrick has been with the school for 18 years. In that time, he has seen a lot of odd incidents, he said.
"The incidents that have occurred are not unusual," he said. "What is a concern is these incidents are happening with more frequency. It is difficult to respond to."
Schaffrick has also noticed the effect these two incidents have had on students at the school.
"We have had a whole range of reaction," he said. "It surprises me how easily some students accept it, and then there are others who are traumatized by it."
Due to the incidents, the school is trying to be more assertive, he said.
"We are trying to take steps to be more proactive," he said. "We are trying to be more alert to recognize the warning signs."
In response to the two incidents that occurred so far this year, Schaffrick is working harder with students who are resident assistants at the residence hall.
Schaffrick is also trying to get out of his office as much as possible.
"I am making a conscientious effort to be seen by the students on campus," he said. "I am walking through the residence hall and the cafeteria more. I am trying to be more accessible to the students."
Schaffrick is also attempting to create relationships with officials who work in professional services that can help the school deal with these types of situations.
"We have to develop stronger relationships with other professionals in the community so we can respond more quickly when these type of incidents occur," he said.
In the end, Hoza believes the setting of a college campus fuels these types of incidents that happen each year.
"Behavior of students goes through waves throughout the country," Hoza said. "It is a constant concern. We have a clash of young men and women with freedom and the goal of going to school. These two extremes are in conflict with each other. The priority has always been and always will be to keep drugs and alcohol from interfering with the goal of the students getting an education."