CHAUTAUQUA, NY (WNY News Now) – A former employee of the Chautauqua Institution is raising safety concerns within the gated community prior to an attack on world-renowned writer Salman Rushdie.
Former Front Desk Attendant at the Athenaeum Hotel, Schellee Gonzalez, spoke with WNY News Now exclusively about security concerns prior to the attack on Friday.
“The whole time I worked there, I’ve never physically ever seen a security officer,“ explained Gonzalez. “I’ve never seen patrols, I’ve never seen drives.”
She was also concerned with nighttime lighting.
“The lighting at night in that community is absolutely horrible,“ said Gonzalez. “As a female leaving at 11, 12, 1 o’clock, there’s nobody to walk us. And then we walk across a highway on top of that to a very very dark parking lot. It’s just scary, it is, just scary.
Gonzalez says she brought her concerns to those with the Institution, however, no action was taken.
“Pretty much I was told, either this is how it’s always been done,” explained Gonzalez. “Or we’ll look into that, pretty much the same. I felt brushed off.”
She lost her job a day prior to the attack. Her reasoning? Speaking out about these safety concerns.
“It hurts,“ said Gonzalez. “It sucks, because I left and unfortunately I lost my job over it. And this man could have lost his life, and all I was asking for was just to feel safe.”
In the end, Gonzalez believes that the attack was completely preventable. We have reached out to the Institution for comment, but have not heard back.