A Christian college professor whose comically bearded face ended up on a beer can says he was fired because the image became so popular with students that the administration considered him a bad influence.

Paul Roof, an associate professor of sociology at Charleston Southern University, posted the image under the Holy City Brewing label on his Facebook page May 13. He said he was fired Friday.

The administration declined any comment when asked about it. Roof says he was called into a meeting and told he was fired because too many students were liking the image.

"They mentioned how many students liked it and what kind of impression it was making on students," Roof said Saturday.

CSU, formerly Baptist College, does not tolerate any form of alcohol on campus. Students aren't allowed to display posters that mention beer.

Roof said he will get legal advice to determine how those rules apply to his situation.

The image was shot by photographer Greg Anderson of Las Vegas at the 2013 Beard and Moustache National Championships in New Orleans. Roof founded the Holy City Beard & Moustache Society, and Holy City Brewing has been a sponsor.

Holy City owner Chris Brown said he and Roof talked about the image before it appeared on the cans for Chucktown Follicle Brown. Roof said he was told they were going to do it but was not in a position to say how it would be used.

"I don't own the image," he said. "I didn't give approval for my image for the can."

But he did post it on his Facebook page, and that's what got him trouble.

"They said I was promoting alcohol," he said.

Roof said he posted it on Facebook to show how one image can be used in so many different ways. He pointed out that Dig South used it at a technology festival in Charleston, and Young Life used it at a praise and worship event in Lubbock, Texas.

"For me as a sociologist, imagery means different things in different settings," he said.

Roof says he believes something good will come out his firing, such as more publicity for his fund-raising efforts for Lowcountry Women with Wings, which helps women with ovarian cancer.

"This is happening for a reason," he said.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.