SF State remembers Hamzah Alsaudi, family still searching
Lack of updates on Hamzah Alsaudi’s whereabouts cause a mix of hope and grief for many on campus.
February 6, 2023
Members of the SF State wrestling team gathered in a huddle before their first meet since Hamzah Alsaudi went missing on Jan. 19. Coach Anthony Mancini promised to take home a win.
Mancini led the team as they chanted “Hamzah!” After the count of three some team members were visibly emotional.
After a successful match, Head Coach Jason Welch gave his take on the day.
“I’m really glad we were able to have a good match,” Welch said. “I think everyone was having a hard time dealing with the tragedy, and I think this match’s success will help heal and return to a sense of normalcy.”
The case of missing student-athlete Hamzah Alsaudi continues to loom over SF State’s students and faculty. While for some, questions and frustrations about his whereabouts grow, others have begun seeking grief counseling.
Director of SF State’s Counseling & Psychological Services Dr. Stephen Chen urges anyone who is struggling to seek help from CAPS or to reach out to trusted support systems.
CAPS partnered with the Dean of Students office and the Department of Athletics to address the concerns that the wrestling team may have had, taking a “frontline” approach to the news of Alsaudi’s disappearance.
Dr. Chen emphasizes that these services are available to all university students.
“Some people do still have hope, while some folks want to move on and grieve,” Dr. Chen said. “But everyone has their own way.”
By all official accounts, Alsaudi’s current status is “missing.” The length of time and conditions surrounding his disappearance offer a bleak outlook, but for those assured that he will be found, the answers just aren’t coming fast enough.
A GoFundMe page created by Alsaudi’s sister Yasra appeared on February 2, dedicated to “seeking private services” to continue the search. So far the page has raised over $13,000 of their $20,000 goal.
It’s not just Alsaudi’s family and teammates reeling from the news of his disappearance, many members of the SF State community feel the weight of the tragedy.
Nicole Watts, Political Science department chair at SF State, lives in Pacifica. She intentionally avoids the more secluded beaches of Rockaway and Esplanade, the area where Alsaudi went missing, which she describes as “dangerous at the best of times.”
“That Thursday was the first beautiful day after all the big storms we had,” Watts said. “This felt so close to home in a number of ways, though I didn’t know him.”
Alsaudi is a senior majoring in Political Science and minoring in Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies. Though Alsaudi is just a few units away from graduating, so far there have been no talks about a potential posthumous degree.
Associated Students President Karina Zamora stated that she has not heard of any events memorializing Alsaudi being organized by any clubs.
“We have had students reach out concerned for him which is why we released a statement on social media,” Zamora said. “But after that statement came out, we have not heard much.”
The statement made by Associated Students’ board of directors gave their sympathies and thoughts for Alsaudi’s family.
“I think we are all really upset that the search has been suspended, but we have not lost hope,” Zamora said. “We definitely believe that Hamzah should be brought home at all costs so if that means urging the Coast Guard to continue their search and reaching out, then that is what should be done.”
The search teams from the U.S. Coast Guard, Pacifica Fire Department, San Bruno Police Department and other organizations involved concluded their activity after a nine-hour search on the day Alsaudi disappeared.
According to Capt. Bill Glasgo, commander of the Investigations Division for Pacifica Police Department, local detectives continue to search the area where Alsaudi was last seen.
Glasgo has worked on similar cases of disappearances before. He suggests heeding the signs along the beaches and trails that warn visitors of the potential danger of high waves.
When asked how long it may take to find Alsaudi, Glasgo spoke frankly.
“I don’t have a crystal ball, so I can’t give a definite timeline,” Glasgo said.
The lack of closure may weigh heavily on the minds of Alsaudi’s family, friends, teammates and peers, but help is available for anyone affected by this tragedy.
CAPS services are free for students. You can be seen for a crisis consultation, access brief short-term counseling, participate in group counseling or informative workshops, as well as receive general guidance on services and programs on and off campus. To learn more about Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS), visit caps.sfsu.edu, or call (415) 338- 2208. CAPS is located on the second floor of the Student Services Building.