UPDATE: McMaster University spokesperson Gord Arbeau writes in an email:

Obviously this is not a “statement by McMaster University” but reflective of the personal opinions of one person who drafted an anecdotal letter about possible housing choices. It was sent to nine incoming Masters students by email and is of course not indicative of McMaster’s policies or positions.****

The University provides off campus housing information at http://macoffcampus.mcmaster.ca/classifieds/index.php that includes many options right across the city. Students are encouraged to visit this site for more information and for McMaster guidance, advice and other housing needs.

McMaster University’s Gender Studies and Feminist Research program is cautioning its graduate students not to live east of James Street in Hamilton.

An email issued by the department to its incoming MA students states in a PDF attachment:

NOT RECOMMENDED

Hamilton East of James
There are pockets of East Hamilton that are terrific, but this tends to be the “rough” area in Hamilton. Rent is
cheap (you can get a two-bedroom for $600), but, unless you know the area well, probably not worth the risk.
Getting far from campus and, in the case of transportation strike (which we’ve experienced in this union-
strong town), it’s hard to get to campus.

The email is part of the registration package for incoming students and provides a listing of areas in Hamilton to live rated “Recommended, Moderately Recommended, and Not Recommended.”

There are only two regions of the city “recommended” to students: “Downtown Hamilton between Dundurn and James North” and “West Hamilton between Dundurn and James, South of Main”

The information sheet provides informative intelligent reasons for graduates to desire housing in these regions.

The sheet “moderately” recommends Westdale and Dundas noting that each of these areas offer advantages with some drawbacks compared to the recommended zones. The sheet states “absentee landlords are a problem in Westdale” and the area is “crowded with undergraduates who are often away from home for the first time and have not yet become fully studious!” The downside of Dundas is higher rental prices and “almost non-existent” bus service.

The sheet does not recommend Stoney Creek due to distance, Upper Hamilton (Mountain) due to the challenges of bus service, and Ancaster because of bus service and higher rents.

It is unknown what data they used for creating the information sheet, including how they determined that areas east of James Street were to “probably not worth the risk.”

READ THE FULL INFORMATION SHEET, uploaded to Google Documents.