I must have done something wrong then because when I used CSS to hide that column, it seemed to disable my ability to expand/collapse the row in code. I'll confirm this and return with more detail if I can't get that to work.
Just a heads up, setting things via CSS doesn't work because it messes up the size of the other columns. I am able to delete the column elements via JS, but then it messes up the colspan that gets assigned to the expand template when it expands. All of these things I can get around, but in a hacky manner.
Just saying this to make you aware that a flag on whether a user wants this expand column icon would be useful!